I. According to the Theban Doctrine.

1. Amon-ra,’the King of the Gods’

2. Mont, his son

3. Shu, son of Ra

4. Seb, or Qeb, son of Shu

5. Osiris, son of Seb

6. Horus, son of Osiris

II. According to the Memphian Doctrine.

1. Ptah, ‘ the Father of the Gods,’ (the Architect of the World.)

2. Ra, son of Ptah, (Fire—Existent Being—the Present)

3. Shu, his son, (the Air)

4. Seb, his son, (the Earth)

5. Osiris, his son, (Water—Being that has existed—the Past)

6. Set, son of Seb, (the Annihilation of Being)

7. Horus, son of Osiris, (the Coming into Being,the Future)

“The Horus, the powerful bull, beloved of the Sun, lord of festivals, like his father, Ptah-Tanen, son of the Sun, Rameses, beloved of Amen, astrong bull like the Sun of Nu, whom none can withstand, the lord of the two countries, Ba-user ma satep en Ba, son of the Sun, Barneses beloved of Amen [giver of life like the sun].”

“The Horus, the powerful bull, son of Tum, king of the South and North, guardian of Kami [or Egypt], chastiser of foreign lands, son of the Sun, Barneses, beloved of Amen, dragging the South to the great Sea, the North to the poles of heaven, lord of the two countries, Ba user ma [or User ma ra], Satep en Ba, son of the Sun, Bameses, giver of life like the Son.”

The god Ptah-tanen, mentioned in the first line, is Ptah, identified with the Earth or World, the son of Nut is Osiris, constantly invoked as a bull, and in connexion with his type of the Apis. The ideas in the second line refer to the limits of the Egyptian world, the North bounded by the great sea, the south by the four poles or cardinal points of the heaven.

“The Horus, the powerful bull, beloved of Thoth, king of the North and South, born of the gods, holding the country as son of the Sun, Bameses beloved of Amen, making his frontiers at the place he wishes, who is at peace through his power, the lord of the two countries, Ba user ma, son of the Sun, Bamessu, the lustre of the Sun [giver of life’].”

“The Horus, the powerful bull, son of the god Ehepera, king of the South and North, Ba user ma, the hawk of gold, supplier of years, greatly powerful son of the Sun, Bamessu beloved of Amen, the eyes of created beings [or mankind] see what he has done, nothing has been said again the lord of the two countries, Ba user ma satep en Ba Bamessu, beloved of Amen, the lustre of the Sun [like] the Sun.”

The lines on the third side are, on the right:— “The Horus, the powerful bull, beloved of Ba, king of the South and North, Ba user ma satep en Ba, lord of festivals like his father Ptab, son of the Sun, Bamessu, beloved of Amen, Bon of Turn of his loins, loving him, Athor the guide of the two countries has given birth to him, the lord of the two countries, Ba user ma, approved of the Sun, Bon of the Sun, Bamessu, beloved of Amen, giver of life, like the Sun.”

Here the king is said to be the son of the god Tum or Tomos, the great god of Heliopolis, although he is described as lord of festivals, like his father, apparently Ba, but another form, perhaps, of Tum, although Ptah is the more probable restoration, as the phrase is repeated in the first line of the other side. The left line reads,—

“The Horus, the mighty bull, son of Tum, the king of the South and North, Ba user ma satep en Ba, the lord of diadems, watcher of Egypt, chastiser of foreign lands, son of the Sun, Bamessu, beloved of Amen, coming daily in the house of his father Turn, he has not looked in the house of his father, the lord of the two countries, Ba user ma Satep en Ba, son of the Sun, Bamessu, beloved of Amen, like the Sun.”

What this last phrase about the temple of Tum means is rather obscure, but it evidently refers to some merit as not violating the mystical sanctity of the temple of Turn. Msy it possibly allude to the blindness of the old Sesostris, mentioned by classical writers 1 It is difficult to affirm, but it is a remarkable expression.

“… the lord of the two countries, Ba user ma, son of the Sun, Bamessu, beloved of Amen, beloved of the Tum, the strong bull of An [or Heliopolis], giver of life.”

“… the lord of the two countries, Ba user ma satep en Ba, son of the Sun, Bamessu, beloved of of Shu, great god, giver of life.”

The strong bull of Heliopolis alludes to the bull Mnevis, as the avatar or incarnation of Turn, the eponymous deity. Shu is a Bolar god, a form or child of Tum.

“The Horus of the Upper and Lower Country, the powerful Bull, beloved of the Sun, lord of festivals of thirty years, like Ptah-Tanen, son of the Sun, Rameses, beloved of Amen, a strong bull, like the son. of Nu, whom none can withstand, the lord of the two countries, Userma-ra, approved of the Sun, son of the Sun, Ramessu, beloved of Amen, giver of life like the Sun.”

The line on the left is:

Ic. Burton, I. Right hand, facing fop.—” The Horus of the Upper and Lower Country, the powerful Bull, son of Tum, King of the South and North, lord of diadems, guardian of Kham (or Egypt), chastiser of foreign lands, son of the Sun, Rameses, beloved of Amen, dragging the South to the great sea (or Mediterranean), the North to the poles of Heaven, lord of the two countries, User ma Ra, approved of the Sun, son of the Sun, Rameses, giver of life like the Sun.”

The god Ptah-tanen, mentioned in the first line, is Ptah, identified with the Earth or World; the son of Nut is Osiris, constantly invoked as a bull, and in connexion with his type of the Apis. The ideas in the second line refer to the limits of the Egyptian world,—the north bounded by the great sea, the south by the four poles or cardinal points of the heaven.

The left line on the next side also contains the titles of Rameses, as

Iib. Burton, II. Centre.—” The Horus of the Upper and Lower Country, the powerful Bull, beloved of Truth, King of the North and South, born of the gods holding the two lands, as the son of the Sun, Rameses, beloved of Amen, making his frontiers wherever he wishes, who is at peace through his power, the lord of tho two countries, User ma Ra, son of the Sun, Rameses, the lustre of the Sun, giver of life.”

That on the right contains also the titles of the same monarch, as

lie.—” The Horus, Lord of the Upper and Lower Country, the powerful Bull, son of xepera, King of the South and North, User-maRa, lord of festivals of thirty years, like his father xepera, the hawk of gold, supplier of years. The eyes of mankind see what he has done. Nothing has been said against the lord of the two countries, User-maRa, approved of the Sun, the son of the Sun, Rameses, beloved of Amen, the lustre of the Sun, like the Sun.”

The lines on the third side are, on the right:

Iiib. Burton, III. Left hand, facing top.—”The Horus, Lord of the Upper and Lower Country, the powerful Bull, beloved of Ra, King of the South and North, User-ma-Ra, approved of the Sun, lord of festivals, like his father Ptah, son of the Sun, Rameses, beloved of Amen, son of Tum or Atmu, of his loins; loving him, Athor the guide or opener of the two countries, has given both to him; the lord of the two countries, User-ma-Ra, approved of the Sun, son of the Sun, Rameses, beloved of Amen, giver of life, like tho Sun.”

Here the ting is said to be the son of the god Tum or Tomos, the great god of Heliopolis, although he is described as lord of festivals, like his father, apparently Ra; but another form, perhaps, of Turn, although Ptah is the more probable restoration, as the phrase is repeated in the first line of the other side.

The left line reads:

IIIc.—” The Horus of the Upper and Lower Country, the mighty Bull, son of Set, the King of the South and North, User-ma-Ra, approved of the Sun, the lord of diadems, watcher of Egypt, chastiser of foreign lands, son of the Sun, Rameses, beloved of Amen, coming daily (or graciously) in the house of Tnm, or Atmu, he did not look in the house of his father; the lord of the two countries, User-ma-Ra, approved of the Sun, son of the Sun, Rameses, beloved of Amen; like the Sun, immortal.”

What this last phrase about the temple of Tum means is rather obscure; but it evidently refers to some merit, as not violating the mystical sanctity of the temple of Tum. May it possibly allude to the blindness of the old Sesostris mentioned by classical writers? One reading is, “never has been done like as he did in the house of his father.”

Iyb.—The once hidden line on the fourth side, on the right, is thus translated from Mr. Dixon’s model:

“The Horus of the Upper and Lower Country, the powerful Bull, beloved of Truth, User-ma-Ra, approved of the Sun, the Sun born of the Gods, taking possession of countries, the son of the Sun, Rameses, beloved of Amen; strong, hard, valiant victor; bull of princes, king of kings, lord of the two countries, son of the Sun, Rameses, beloved of Amen, beloved of Tum, lord of An or Heliopolis, giver of life.”

IVc—That on the left:

“The Horus of the Upper and Lower Country, the strong Bull, son of Ptah Tamen, the King of the South and North,User ma Ra, approved of the Sun, the golden hawk, supplier of years most powerful, son of the Sun, Rameses, beloved of Amen, leading captive the Rutennu and the Peti ont of their countries to the seat of the house of his father; lord of the two countries, User ma Ra, approved of the Sun, son of the Sun, Rameses, beloved of Amen, beloved of Shu the great god, like the Sun.”

The strong bull of Heliopolis alludes to the bull of Mnevis as the avatar or incarnation of Tum, the eponymous deity. Shu is a solar god, a form or child of Tum.

On the first side, in front of all, in small characters, are the name and titles of Scti II: ” King of the South and North, Ra-user xeper-Ra, beloved of Amen, son of the Sun, Seti, beloved of Ptah.” This shews that Seti II either repaired or set up the obelisk.


Mythically Egypt was said to have been first governed by a dynasty of gods, who, according to Manetho and other Greek authors, were Vulcan or Ptah, Helios the Sun or Ra, SOs or Shu, Saturn or Seb, Osiris or Heshar, Typhon or Seti, and Horus or Hor. These gods reigned 13,900 years, and were succeeded by the Manes and demigods, whose reign occupied 4,000 more years. But considerable difference exists in the lists—that of Thebes giving Amen, Mentu, Turn, Su and Seb. Osiris, Seti, and Horus; that of Memphis, Ptah, Ka, Shu, Seb, Osiris, Set, and Horus. After the reigns of the gods, the epoch of Menes is the first point in the chronology of the history of ancient E., and has been placed, as above mentioned, by the rival systems of chronology.



The Creator God of the Ennead of Heliopolis, who rose out of the Primeval Waters (the Nun) to form the Primeval Mound, the first piece of land which emerged when the water withdrew. Some of his epiteths were: ‘Lord to the limit of the sky’, ‘He Who came into being of Himself’, the ‘Lord of All’ and ‘Lord of Iunu (Gr: Heliopolis)’. He self-developed into a being, standing on a raised mound; i.e. the primeval mound, which became the Benben, a pyramid shaped stone, regarded as the dwelling place of the sun god. There is a dialogue between Atum and Wesir in the Book of Going Forth By Day, whre Atum states that he will submerge the world with all its deities, humans and everything else in the Nun (primeval waters) and that only he himself and Wesir will survive in the form of serpents. Another story telling about an earlier catastrophe ending with only one survivor, the ‘kerhet’ – snake as conveying the image of the snake shedding its skin (destruction)and emerging in a new form. Atum in the Underworld Atum, as te Creator of all things and beings, protects the deceased from all dangers and evil forces in the Underworld. He defeats the snake Neheb-Khau by pressing his fingernail on its spine, and annihilates the Apep serpent. In tombs from the New Kingdom Period, Atum is seen punishing the enemies of the sun by drenching or beheading them.

Amen, Amon, Amun, Imen – Primeval Creator God mentioned already in the Pyramid Texts (5th Dynasty) as a primeval deity whose shadow protects the other gods. His female counterpart is Amaunet. He is often called “The Hidden One” which shows an association with invisibility. The ancients regarded him as being behind and in all things, a deity too complex to describe in one name or even possible to depict in his true form. Therefore another name was “He who abides in all things”. ‘Hidden of aspect, mysterious of form’ or the ba of all things are other epiteths. They also called him ‘asha renu’ which means ‘rich in names’.

Amun and the Ogdoad. Amun and his female counterpart Amaunet, are one of four pairs of the Ogdoad, the Creation Myth which originated in Hermopolis (el-Ashmunein). Amun in his form of a snake (Amun Kem-Atef) is also the forerunner, or ancestor of these eight deities Amun and Amun-Ra Amun was a member of the Ogdoad, representing creation energies with Amaunet, a very early patron of Thebes. He was believed to create via breath, and thus was identified with the wind rather than the sun. As the cults of Amun and Ra became increasingly popular in Upper and Lower Egypt respectively they were combined to create Amun-Ra, a solar creator god.

The name Amun-Ra is reconstructed as *ri:ʕu). It is hard to distinguish exactly when this combination happened, but references to Amun-Ra appeared in pyramid texts as early as the fifth dynasty. The most common belief is that Amun-Ra was invented as a new state deity by the (Theban) rulers of the New Kingdom to unite worshipers of Amun with the older cult of Ra around the eighteenth dynasty. Atum and Atum-Ra Atum-Ra (or Ra-Atum) was another composite deity formed from two completely separate deities, however Ra shared more similarities with Atum than with Amun. Atum was more closely linked with the sun, and was also a creator god of the Ennead. Both Ra and Atum were regarded as the father of the deities and pharaohs, and were widely worshiped.

In older myths, Atum was the creator of Tefnut and Shu, and he was born from ocean Nun. Ra-Horakhty In later Egyptian mythology, Ra-Horakhty was more of a title or manifestation than a composite deity. It translates as “Ra (who is) Horus of the Horizons”. It was intended to link Horakhty (as a sunrise-oriented aspect of Horus) to Ra. It has been suggested that Ra-Horakhty simply refers to the sun’s journey from horizon to horizon as Ra, or that it means to show Ra as a symbolic deity of hope and rebirth. Khepri and Khnum Khepri was a scarab beetle who rolled up the sun in the mornings, and was sometimes seen as the morning manifestation of Ra. Similarly, the ram-headed god Khnum was also seen as the evening manifestation of Ra. The idea of different deities (or different aspects of Ra) ruling over different times of the day was fairly common, but variable. With Khepri and Khnum taking precedence over sunrise and sunset, Ra often was the representation of midday when the sun reached its peak at noon. Sometimes different aspects of Horus were used instead of Ra’s aspects.

In Thelema’s Liber Resh vel Helios, Ra represents the rising sun, with Hathor as the midday sun and Tum as the setting sun. It was from Nun that Ra (or Amun, another of the Ogdoad who became prominent Middle Kingdom onward, and joined with the sun god as Amen-Ra) created himself, rising up on the first piece of land – the primeval mound (Benben) out of the lotus blossom, born from the world egg, or as a bnw-bird who then found and landed on the mound. In another story, it was Thoth who awoke from Nun and sang the unnamed four frog gods and snake goddesses who then continued Thoth’s song to keep the sun travelling through the sky. The First Time then began and Ra was thought to have created the universe, including his children – other gods. He brought Ma’at – order – to chaos.

Nun was thought to be the father of Ra, who was known as the father of the gods. One story says that Ra’s children, Shu and Tefenet, went to explore the waters of Nun. After some time, Ra believed that they were lost, and sent the his Eye out into the chaos to find them. When his children were returned to him, Ra wept, and his tears were believed to have turned into the first humans. Nun then became the protector of the twin deities, protecting them from the demons in his waters. Later on, it was Nun who suggested that Ra sent out his Eye to destroy the humans who were in contempt of the sun god. Finally, it was on Nun’s orders that Nut turned into a solar cow, and carried Ra up into the sky after the sun god had grown old and wearied of life on earth. Nun was thought to exist both outside the universe and as part of every body of water from the Nile to temple pools. The Nile itself was thought to flow from Nun’s primordial waters. He was thought to play a part in the rituals involved in laying out the foundation for new temples. Nun was also thought to continue to exist as subsoil water beneath the earth and as the source of the annual flooding of the Nile River.

The god of chaos didn’t have a priesthood, nor any temples that have been found, and was never worshiped as a personified god. Instead, he was represented at various temples by the sacred lakes symbolising the chaotic waters before the First Time. At Abydos, he is represented by an underground water channel at the Osireion. The Ogdoad were the original great gods of Iunu (Heliopolis) where they were thought to have helped with creation, then died and retired to the land of the dead where they continued to make the Nile flow and the sun rise every day. Iunu was thought to have been the site of the primeval mound by the priests of the city, and they had a sacred lake known as ‘The Sea of Two Knives’ and an island known as ‘The Isle of Flames’. The lake, attached to a temple, represented Nun’s waters, and the island was believed to be the primeval mound itself. Ptah Ra rarely was combined with Ptah; the sun “crosses” over Ptah in the underworld before Ptah is reborn, thus there would be no sun-ray when this happens.

Other combinations can and do exist: The rising sun with sun ray, the noon sun with sun ray, and sitting sun with sunray. But as per the Memphite creation myth he was often said to be Ptah’s first creation, through his divine will, especially when associated with Atum or Amun. “Horus and Ptah Are One” nefer-tem imhotep The first boy and his mother were called Sut-Typhon. Sut means “The Opener”, and this may be taken in the physiological as well as the astrological sense. The Child was the opener in the sense of being born of the un-mated Mother. The Sun is the Opener of the Day, while Sut as the Star-god was considered the Opener of the Year with the rising of Sothis, and on his rising was the Great Bear cycle founded.

The earliest conception of the great Mother was under the form of the Hippopotamus, the Devourer of the Waters. This led to that of the Water-Dragon, Typhon. But the Great Mother was She who brought forth the Starts, thus we find Her assuming the form of the Star-Goddess, Nuit of the Heavens, who is represented by a beautiful human form arched over the earth. Her change to this human form was portrayed as “Beauty and the Beast in one Image”, and from this was the ancient fable derived. We find the Child described from the very earliest times, as of dual type, so that he became known as Sut-Har or Sut-Horus. Later the idea of twins arose, and these became the Gods of the Two Horizons. Sut the Opener and Horus the one who Shuts or Closes. The earliest phenomenal form of these twins was as darkness (Sut) and light (Horus). Har or Horus as the Sun was an earlier type than Ra who later became the principal Sun-god. Har, as the son of Typhon the Great Mother, became known as the earliest of the Pharaohs and rulers of Egypt.

Primarily the word Pharaoh is derived from Har-Iu, which means the Coming Son of a two-fold nature, and of the two (Iu) houses. This, again, was Har of the Shus-en-Har or the Bar or Baal of the Heksus. Now the rulers of the Shus were called Heks, and thus we may trace the early name of the God Hak which is a form of Harpocrates, the God of Silence, the Babe upon the Lotus; who is sometimes considered to be the twin of Horus, and concealed within him. Har-Makhu was the Star-God of both Horizons. Sut-Har developed into the Solar Deity afterwards called Aten, or Atum. Thus we begin to see the Typhonian origin of the God Aten, and we shall learn from this something of the nature of the revival of Aten-worship under King Khu-en-Aten, the father-in-law of Tutankhamen.

As time went on there was mention of Four Suts, and the worship of the Mother Typhon and her son Sut began to fall into disrepute. A father was needed to account for the generation of all things, and gradually the idea of TUM the Old God of the Setting Sun arose, and he was said to be the Father of the Four Suts. (Thus the four Quarters were established, or perhaps the Equinoctial points and the Solstices). TUM then became known as ATUM, and the Solar Fatherhood was established. Also the twin Lion-Gods assumed the type of Sut-Horus in ATUM-RA. The quarrel which rent the monuments arose on account of Sut-Horus (Sut as brother of the Sun) and the Egyptian Amen-Ra who was identified with the Greek Jupiter-Amen. An alliance was made between the Ammonians and the Osirians against the followers of Sut-Har, or Sutekh or Sebek, and the ancient genetrix Typhon. [Geb, lord of the gods, commanded] that the Nine Gods gather to him. He judged between Horus and Seth; he ended their quarrel. He made Seth king of Upper Egypt in the land of Upper Egypt, up to the place in which he was born, which is Su. And Geb made Horus king of Lower Egypt in the land of Lower Egypt, up to the place in which his father was drowned which is “Division-of-the-Two-Lands.” Thus Horus stood over one region, and Seth stood over one region. They made peace over the Two Lands at Ayan. That was the division of the Two Lands. Geb’s words to Seth: “Go to the place in which you were born.” Seth: Upper Egypt. Geb’s words to Horus: “Go to the place in which your father was drowned.” Horus: Lower Egypt. Geb’s words to Horus and Seth: “I have separated you.” — Lower and Upper Egypt. Then it seemed wrong to Geb that the portion of Horus was like the portion of Seth. So Geb gave to Horus his inheritance, for he is the son of his firstborn son. Geb’s words to the Nine Gods: “I have appointed Horus, the firstborn.” Geb’s words to the Nine Gods: “Him alone, Horus, the inheritance.” Geb’s words to the NineGods: “To this heir, Horus, my inheritance.” Geb’s words to the Nine Gods: “To the son of my son, Horus, the Jackal of Upper Egypt —. Geb’s words to the Nine Gods:”The firstborn, Horus, the Opener-of-the-ways.” Geb’s words to the Nine Gods: “The son who was born — Horus, on the Birthday of the Opener-of-the-ways.” Then Horus stood over the land. He is the uniter of this land, proclaimed in the great name: Ta-tenen, South-of-his-Wall, Lord of Eternity. Then sprouted the two Great Magicians upon his head. He is Horus who arose as king of Upper and Lower Egypt, who united the Two Lands in the Nome of the Wall, the place in which the Two Lands were united. Reed and papyrus were placed on the double door of the House of Ptah. That means Horus and Seth, pacified and united. They fraternized so as to cease quarreling in whatever place they might be, being united in the House of Ptah, the “Balance of the Two Lands” in which Upper and Lower Egypt had been weighed. This is the land —— the burial of Osiris in the House of Sokar. —— Isis and Nepthys without delay, for Osiris had drowned in his water. Isis [and Nephthys] looked out, [beheld him and attended to him]. Horus speaks to Isis and Nephthys:”Hurry, grasp him Isis and Nephthys speak to Osiris:”We come, we take you—.” —— [They heeded in time] and brought him to [land. He entered the hidden portals in the glory of the lords of eternity] ——– [Thus Osiris came into] the earth at the royal fortress, to the north of [the land to which he had come. And his son Horus arose as king of Upper Egypt, arose as king of Lower Egypt, in the embrace of his father Osiris and of the gods in front of him and behind him.] There was built the royal fortress [at the command of Geb—]. Geb speaks to Thoth: ——- Geb speaks to Thoth: ——- ——- [Geb] speaks to Isis: ——- Isis causes [Horus and Seth] to come. Isis speaks to Horus and Seth: “[Come] ——— Isis speaks to Horus and Seth: “Make peace ——— Isis speaks to Horus and Seth: “Life will be pleasant for you when ——— Isis speaks to Horus and Seth: “It is he who dries your tears ———.” ——-. ——-. Thus all the faculties were made and all the qualities determined, they that make all foods and all provisions, through this word. to him who does what is loved, to him who does what is hated. Thus life is given to the peaceful, death is given to the criminal. Thus all labor, all crafts are made, the action of the hands, the motion of the legs, the movements of all the limbs, according to this command which is devised by the heart and comes forth on the tongue and creates the performance of every thing. Thus it is said of Ptah: “He who made all and created the gods.” And he is Tatenen, who gave birth to the gods, and from whom every thing came forth, foods, provisions, divine offerings, all good things. Thus it is recognized and understood that he is the mightiest of the gods. Thus Ptah was satisfied after he had made all things and all divine words. He gave birth to the gods, He made the towns, He established the nomes, He placed the gods in their shrines, He settled their offerings, He established their shrines, He made their bodies according to their wishes. Thus the gods entered into their bodies, Of every wood, every stone, every clay, Every thing that grows upon him In which they came to be. Thus were gathered to him all the gods and their kas, Content, united with the Lord of the Two Lands. Memphis the Royal City The Great Throne that gives joy to the heart of the gods in the House of Ptah is the granary of Tatenen, the mistress of all life, through which the sustenance of the Two Lands is provided, owing to the fact that Osiris was drowned in his water. Isis and Nephthys looked out, beheld him, and attended to him. Horus quickly commanded Isis and Nephthys to grasp Osiris and prevent his drowning (i.e., his submerging). They heeded in time and brought him to land. He entered the hidden portals in the glory of the lords of eternity, in the steps of him who rises in the horizon, on the ways of Re at the Great Throne. He entered the palace and joined the gods of Tatenen Ptah, lord of years. Thus Osiris came into the earth at the Royal Fortress, to the north of the land to which he had come. His son Horus arose as king of Upper Egypt, arose as king of Lower Egypt, in the embrace of his father Osiris and of the gods in front of him and behind him. The story of creation related in the Pyramid Text explains that Re, as Atum, rose in the beginning of creation as a benben stone, an obelisk-like pillar, in the temple of the Benu-Phoenix in Heliopolis. He then spit forth Shu and Tefnut, who became the first godly couple, and who respectively, symbolized air and moisture. To them, Geb and Nut, were born, symbolizing the earth and sky. Geb and Nut, in turn, begot two divine couples consisting of Osiris – Isis and Seth – Nephthys. Called the Ennead of gods, the combined attributes of this divine group were needed in order for the world to function. ” The great Tchatcha Chiefs in Anu are Tem, Shu, Tefnut. [Osiris and Thoth] ” The great Tchatcha Chiefs who are in Tetu are Osiris, Isis, Nephthys, and Horus. ” The great Tchatcha Chiefs who are in Sekhem are Heru-khenti-en- ariti and Thoth. ” The great Tchatcha Chiefs who are in Pe-Tep are Horus, Isis, Kesta (Mesta) and Hapi. ” The great Tchatcha Chiefs who are in Taiu-Rekhti are Isis, Horus, Kesta (Mesta) [Anpu and Thoth] ” The great Tchatcha Chiefs who are in Abtu are Osiris, Isis, and Up-uat. ” The great Tchatcha Chiefs who are in Nerutef are Ra, Osiris, Shu and Bebi. ” The great Tchatcha Chiefs who are in Rasta are Horus, Osiris, and Isis. ” The chief of the Tchatcha who is in Naarutef is Horus, the Advocate of his father. ” Seker, O thou who dwellest in thy circle. ” Ra-Herakhty, the merged identities of Ra, and Horus. ” Ptah is Horus the old ” Horus the Morning Star, is lauded as “chief of the imperishable stars,” the “imperishable stars” being the usual Egyptian designation for the circumpolar stars. Horus of the Duat, Horus of the Underworld, Horus of the Dawn, all mean one and the same thing. Saturn figures under the name Geb (Lepsius, Uber d. ersten agypt. Gotterkreis, p. 11, 30). But Manetho, who had written the history of Egypt in the Greek language, calls him Cronos. Khnum, Khnumu, or Khnemu (Egyptian) (from khnem to join, unite) The chief member of the triad of deities revered at Abu or Elephantine, their worship extending from Thebes to Philae. Khnemu was the Father who was in the beginning, who fashioned the first egg from which sprang the sun, raiser up of the heaven upon its four pillars, and supporter of the same in the firmament, builder of gods and men, maker of all things which are, evolver of things which shall be, the source of things which exist. His attributes are those of a water deity, one of the recondite cosmic powers in the waters of space; later he become associated with the Nile god, Hapi, taking on the name Hap-ur, and with Nu, the primeval god of the watery abyss or space. But at Abu he united the characteristics of Ra, Shu, Seb, and Osiris. Even in Christian times his worship flourished, for Gnostic gems bear testimony to his popularity. Sometimes pictured as a ram-headed deity fashioning a man on a potter’s wheel. The Kabeiroi were identified with the Egyptian sons of Ptah. Khnum was the god (mainly) of Hrwr in Middle Egypt and Elephantine he’s Hrj-jb, i.e. guest deity the fact that his name coincided with one of the many ways that the ram was designated, leads to believe that it was a divinity that came from Asia. Ammon was one of the most ancient kings of Libya and Egypt. This Ammon was, as traditions tell us, a great shepherd, a “man rich in sheep” (Tertullian, De pallio. 3), nephew of Atlas from the country of the Hyperboreans (according to some old traditions Ammon’s mother was Pasiphae, the daughter of Atlas – Plutarch, Agis, c. 9), that Atlas who appears at the same time as the ancestor of a number of famous dynasties and families of Hellada, Troy and Latium. In the sacred texts of the Egyptians, Ammon has also the name of Altaika (Pierret, Le livre d. morts, Ch. CLXV. 1-3), a form derived from Alutus, Greek ‘Atlas Amon Ra : hry-tp ntrw nb(w) Nebu – Thoth ‘ To suppose that Keftiu = Phoenicia in Ptolemaic times, therefore it = Phoenicia under the XVIIIth Dynasty, is no moren ecessaryt han to supposet h:at becauseth eH aunebuo f Ptolemaicd aysw ereH ellenes, therefore the Haunebu of the VIth Dynasty were Hellenes, is necessary ‘ But the author says, on pp 158, 159, that the name Haunebu meant ‘Fenmen’ or ‘ Northerners,’ and was always applied to the inhabitants of the Delta; so that, when the Hellenes settled in the Delta, the term came to be applied to them Hence, if any comparison could be made between the use of Keftiu and the use of Haunebu, the conclusion would be that Keftiu always meant Phoenicia, although that country may not always have been inhabited by Phoenicians Raymond Weill in the first part of his study of The Elysian Fields in Egyptian Texts, has clarified the role of the bull, except that he has not seen the astronomical meaning To gain admittance to the Elysian Fields, the hero must defeat the bull; he enters as the conqueror of the bull that guards the route to the West, that guards the Elysian Fields One of Pyramid texts reads: “The Bull of the Sky inclines his horn, so that he [the deceased] may pass ” At times the bull instead of being presented as an enemy is a friend who helps in in crossings; the bull itself is identified with the hero and becomes the actor of the triumphant crossing: “He comes out into the sky He crosses the vault of heaven, lively and powerful, he crosses the foamy Oceanus, overthrowing the wall of Shu ” At times the bull is a ladder, the ladder that gives access to the sky Weill observes that the deceased is presented as moving towards Orion, so that the bull is “most probably” Orion itself; but Orion and Sirius (Sothis) are mentioned as guides to the bull because the two most important stars are also on the bank of the Milky Way, just below the two horns of Taurus “Of the earliest phases of the cult of Osiris in the predynastic period nothing is known; it is probable that Osiris was not his original name, for the view that the name of Osiris is of Babylonian or Sumerian origin has much to recommend it ” Indeed, the name “Osiris” is rooted in the Sumerian “Asar”, a title applied to this deity in pre-dynastic times “Asar” is the root of “Assur” and “Ashira”, both variants of the same figure in neighboring nations And “Asar” is a title meaning “Son of Sar” (a k a “Sag” and “Zag” or “Ia”) This definitely links Asar/Osiris to the Sumerian Kin or Kan (Cain), whose alternate titles were “Asag”, “Azag”, and “Asar ” Ptah the High God. He emerges out of the primeval Waters which are no longer so inert as previously, becoming the first subjective/objective manifestation. He projects his Heart (the elder Horus, brother of all the sequential gods, including Osiris), and his Voice-Mind (Thoth). Ptah never lost his elfin character, even after he was merged with deities of divergent origin. He was the chief of nine earth spirits (that is, eight and himself added) called Khnûmû, the modellers. Statuettes of these represent them as dwarfs, with muscular bodies, bent legs, long arms, big broad heads, and faces of intelligent and even benign expression. Some wear long moustaches, so unlike the shaven or glabrous Egyptians. Ptah Tanen declares that his head is in the heavens while his feet are on the earth or in Duat, the underworld. “The wind”, declared the priestly poet, “issues from thy nostrils and the waters from thy mouth. Upon thy back grows the grain. The sun and the moon are thine eyes. When thou dost sleep it is dark, and when thou dost open thine eyes it is bright again.” Ptah Tanen was lauded as “a perfect god” who came forth “perfect in all his parts”. At the beginning he was all alone. He built up his body and shaped his limbs ere the sky was fashioned and the world was set in order, and ere the waters issued forth. Unlike Ra, he did not rise from the primordial deep. “Thou didst discover thyself”, sang the Memphite poet, “in the circumstance of one who made for himself a seat and shaped the Two Lands” (Upper and Lower Egypt). The suggestion is that, therefore, of a mountain giant with his ‘seat’ or ‘chair’ upon some lofty peak, an idea which only a hill folk could have imported. horus the elder, (Heru-ur), whom the Greeks called Aroeris, is described in the monuments as the son of Ra, but according to Plutarch, in de iside, he was the grandson of Ra Ra was father of Shu and Tefnut, grandfather of Nut and Geb, great-grandfather of Osiris, Set, Isis, and Nephthys, and great-great-grandfather to Horus. Ptah Worshipped in Memphis from the earliest dynastic times (c.3100 BC), Ptah was seen as the creator of the universe in the Memphite cosmology. He fashioned the bodies in which dwelt the souls of men in the afterlife. Other versions of the myths state that he worked under Thoth’s orders, creating the heavens and the earth according to Thoth’s specifications. Ptah is depicted as a bearded man wearing a skullcap, shrouded much like a mummy, with his hands emerging from the wrappings in front and holding the Uas (phoenix-headed) scepter, an Ankh, and a Djed (sign of stability). He was often worshipped in conjunction with the gods Seker and Osiris, and worshipped under the name Ptah-seker-ausar. He was said to be the husband of Sekhmet and the father of Nefertum (and later Imhotep). Khnum Appearing as a ram-headed human, Khnum was worshipped most at Antinoe and Elephantine. He was another creator-god, represented as fashioning human beings on his pottery wheel. His consort was variously Heqet, Neith, or Sati. As the supreme head of the Egyptian Pantheon we recognize without hesitation the divinity with the head of a ram, whose name has been variously rendered as Khnemu, Chnumu, Chnu-phis, Kneph, Neph, with several other variants. According to inscriptions quoted by Dr. Brugsch,* “the most glorious image of the Divine in Elephantine is the ram’s headed Chnumu, the Former of man, the creator of the gods, he who first shaped this earth with his hands, he who is his own origin, the original creative power, primeval fountain of all that is, source of all being, the father of the gods;” and the inscription further describes him as “the god Nun,” i. e. the watery or elementary first substance out of which all forms, heavenly or earthly, have been made. He is “the maker of things which are, creator of things which shall be, the source of things which exist, Father of fathers, and Mother of mothers.” He “made the first egg, [Chaos], from which sprang the sun, and he made the gods, and fashioned the first man upon a potter’s wheel, and he continued to ‘build up’ their bodies and maintain their life.” (Budge, gods of the egyptians, II: 50, 51). According to all the authorities the name of Khnemu is connected with a root meaning “to join, to write,” and also “to build,” — a derivation which suggests the idea of the Infinite Esse, the Divine Love, as the first and continuous Divine substance, in which all things are infinitely and yet distinctly one, — the one and only substance out of which all finite forms have been created or built. This original substance is represented by the water-jug which forms the first and only essential component part of the hieroglyphics which form the name of Khnemu, — the others having a purely alphabetic value, the owl standing for the letter M, and the chicken for U. As the god of the primeval water or creative element, he is sometimes seen with outstretched hands over which water is flowing, and sometimes he is seen with the water jug above the horns of the ram. Ancient as well as modern students of the Egyptian religion unite in ascribing to Khnemu the attributes of primeval creative power. Porphyry states that this god “is represented with an egg proceeding out of his month, and out of this egg proceeds another god, named Ptah.” (Wilkinson, manners and customs, IV : 240.) “The inhabitants of the Thebais,” says Plutarch, “worship their god Khneph alone, whom they look upon, as without beginning, so without end.” (Ibid, 238.) Wilkinson regards him as identical with “the Spirit of God which moved upon the face of the waters,” (Ibid, 237), and Wallis Budge describes him as “the god who existed before anything else was, who made himself, who was the creative power which made and which sustains all things” (G. E. II: 42.) “We have seen that the spirit or soul of Khnemu pervaded all things, and that the god whose symbol was a ram was the creator of men and gods, and in connection with this must be noted the fact that, together with Ptah, he built up the edifice of the material universe according to the plans which he had made under the guidance and direction of Thoth,” (Ibid, p. 54), — that is, according to the Word which was in the beginning with God. The invariable symbol of Khnemu is the ram, which, as the father of the flock, represented the supreme Fatherhood of the Divine Itself, the Divine Esse. In order to represent this inmost Divine as being in itself invisible and incomprehensible, the body of Khnemu was painted a dark blue; and in order to signify that this inmost Divine is the Divine Celestial itself, or the Divine Love, the head of the ram wears the crown of Upper Egypt alone. Khnum was the god (mainly) of Hrwr in Middle Egypt and Elephantine he’s Hrj-jb, i.e. guest deity the fact that his name coincided with one of the many ways that the ram was designated, leads to believe that it was a divinity that came from Asia. On temple walls, he was sometimes shown as holding a jar, with the precious water flowing out of it. He was also believed to be a guardian of the waters in the underworld. Khnum (Khenmew, Khnemu, Khenmu, Chnum), from the Egyptian ‘unite’, ‘join’ or ‘build’, was an ancient deity of fertility, water and the great potter who created children and their ka at their conception. He was mentioned in the pyramid texts and the pyramid builder Khufu’s name was actually ‘Khnum-Khufu’ meaning ‘Khnum is his Protector’. His cult was popular before the cult of Re eclipsed it. The next pyramid builders were his son and grandson who added ‘Re’ to their names – Khafra and Menkaura. Khnum was possibly even a predynastic god. The Egyptians believed that he was the guardian of the source of the Nile who was originally a Nile god, but who became a helper of Hapi. His role changed from river god to the one who made sure that the right amount of silt was released into the water during the inundation. In working with the silt, the very soil that the ancient Egyptian potters used, he became the great potter who not only molded men and women, but who molded the gods themselves and the world. He was depicted as a ram, ram-headed man or as a full male with the horns of a ram who wears a plumed white crown of Upper Egypt. In early times he was shown as the first domesticated ram, the Ovis longipes palaeoaegyptiacus, with long corkscrew horns growing horizontally outwards from his head. This species died out, though even so he was still depicted as that breed of sheep until much later in Egyptian history. Eventually he was shown as the Ovis platyra (the type of ram associated with Amun) with horns curving inward towards his face. Sometimes he was shown with four ram heads, aligning him with the sun god Re, the air god Shu, the earth god Geb and Osiris, lord of the dead. In his four headed form, Khnum on his Barque he was known as Sheft-hat. The Egyptians believed that the ram was a very potent animal, and thus Khnum was linked to fertility. Considered to be the ba of Re – this might be an Egyptian pun on the fact that the ram was also called ba – he helped Re travel through the underworld each night on the Solar Barque. In the pyramid texts (Utterance 300), the barque was referred to as the “Ikhet Barque which Khnum made”, so not only did he defend the barque, but Khnum was thought to have created it as well. In this form he was often called Khnum-Ra and wears the sun disk of Re. Originally a water god, Khnum was often pictured by the Egyptians as the source of the Nile. On temple walls, he was sometimes shown as holding a jar, with the precious water flowing out of it. He was also believed to be a guardian of the waters in the underworld. He is mentioned as a protective deity of the dead. Many heart scarabs have a similar versions of one of the spells from The Book of the Dead to protect the deceased against a negative judgement in the Halls of Ma’ati: O my heart … Do not stand up against me as a witness! Khnum as the Ba of Ra, with Isis on the Left and Nephthys on the Right Do not create opposition against me among the assessors! Do not tip the scales against me in the presence of the Keeper of the Balance! You are my soul which is in my body, The god Khnum who makes my limbs sound. When you go forth to the Hereafter, My name shall not stink to the courtiers who create people on his behalf. Do not tell lies about me in the presence of the Great God! — Heart scarab spell, translation by Thomas J. Logan The ram-headed god was ‘Lord of the Cataract’ a god of the yearly inundationand the fertile black soil that came with the flood. Khnum was also seen as a fertility god because of his association with the fertile silt. Pottery was created out of the soil of the Nile, and it was believed that he created the first humans – and the gods – on his potter’s wheel with this silt. In Iunyt (Esna) it was believed that it was he who molded the First Egg from which the sun hatched, and thus was a creator god who was ‘Father of the Fathers of the Gods and Goddesses, Lord of Created Things from Himself, Maker of Heaven and Earth and the Duat and Water and the Mountains’. The vast majority of the pottery was manufactured from either Nile silts or marl clays, the two primary raw materials used in Egyptian pottery making … Marl clays and Nile silts were usually not used for the same pot types. For example, cooking pots, cups, platter bowls, ring stands, Tell el-Yehudiyah ware juglets, black and red polished juglets, beakers, and certain groups of jars were produced mostly from Nile silts … platter bowls formed of marl clay were usually slipped red to provide the desired exterior look of a Nile silt; a carinated bowl manufactured from silt might be slipped white to resemble a marl clay. Then I awoke happy, my heart was decided and at ease. I decreed this order to the temple of my father Khnum. Royal sacrifice for Khnum-Re, lord of the cataract, first of Nubia, as reward for what you favour me with. I make you a gift of your western shore by the mountain of the dusk and your eastern shore by the mountain of dawn, from Elephantine to …… with twelve auroras on the eastern and western shores, with the plants, with the harbours with the river and with every settlement on these auroras. Ram Headed God Khnum, Wearing the Plumed White Crown — Famine Stele at Sehel As potter, he was thought to mould the body of a child, and it’s kabefore birth. He was called the ‘Father of Fathers and the Mother of Mothers’. He was also the one who gave health to the child after it was born. In the story of Raddjedet’s triplets, the birth related goddesses Isis, Nephthys, Meskhenet and Heqet disguised themselves as female musicians with Khnum as their porter. After each child was “rushed forth”, the umbilical cord had been cut and the destiny had been pronounced, Khnum was the one who “gave health” to each child. So not only did Khnum create the child and its double, but he was thought to also give it health at birth. Hatshepsut was one pharaoh who encouraged the belief that Khnum, at Amen’s request, created her and her ka: …Amen-Ra called for Khnum, the creator, the fashioner of the bodies of men. “Fashion for me the body of my daughter and the body of her ka,” said Amen-Ra, “A great queen shall I make of her, and honour and power shall be worthy of her dignity and glory.” “O Amen-Ra,” answered Khnum, “It shall be done as you have said. The beauty of your daughter shall surpass that of the gods and shall be worthy of her dignity and glory.” So Khnum fashioned the body of Amen-Ra’s daughter and the body of her ka, the two forms exactly alike and more beautiful than the daughters of men. He fashioned them of clay with the air of his potter’s wheel and Heqet, goddess of birth, knelt by his side holding the sign of life towards the clay that the bodies of Hatshepsut and her ka might be filled with the breath of life. — Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple Menhyt, Lioness Headed Goddess and Khnum His cult was centered on the island of Abu (Elephantine) at Swentet (Aswan) where he had been worshiped since the Early Dynastic period. In the New Kingdom he was worshiped there as head of a triad with his wife Satet (a fertility goddess of the Nile and purifier of the dead) and daughter Anuket (a huntress goddess of the first cataract near Swentet, ‘The Embracer’). There is a Greco-Roman temple for him at Iunyt (Esna) where he was given two consorts, Menhit (a lion headed war goddess, ‘She Who Slaughters’) and Nebtu (a local goddess of the oasis, ‘The Guilded One’) – one goddess became a form of the other – and a son called Hike (god of magic, ‘He Who Activates the Ka’). He was also linked to the war-like creator goddess Neith at Iunyt (Esna). In Her-wer (Antinoe) he was thought to be the husband of Heqet, the frog goddess who gave the newly created being the breath of life before the child was placed to grow in the mother’s womb. Khnum was a ram god of the Nile, a god of silt, fertility and a potter god of creation. He was a god of the sun, a protector of the dead and protector of Re on the solar barque. This god was an ancient god, popular from early times through to the Greco-Roman period who was thought to have created the pharaoh’s form and soul on his potters wheel. From a local god of the Nile to a deity connected with childbirth, Khnum was the ‘Father of Fathers and the Mother of Mothers’ of the pharaoh. Horus, the son of god, came into the world as shepherd of his father’s sheep, to lead them through the darkness of Amenta… Amsu-Horus, with his crook in hand, shepherded the flocks of Ra beyond the grave to the green pastures(Horus in one character is the good shepherd, but the lord, as leader in the green pastures, is the bull of the seven cows, who are the providers of plenty. He is called the lord of the pastures, or fields of the bull, the green meadows of Aarru.) and still waters of the final paradise upon Mount Hetep in the heaven of eternity. The “still waters , are in Hebrew the “waters of rest”; these, in the Egyptian, are the waters of Hetep = the waters of rest or peace. The departed rests beside these waters in the green fields where Hetep, as the god of peace, is “putting together the oblations” for the spirits of the just made perfect. the speaker in the Ritual says rejoicingly, “My soul is with me”. This in Egyptian is the ka, that was ultimately attained in the garden of peace. The ka is the final form of the soul restored to the departed when they are perfected in the assembly or congregation on the mount. The speaker in Hetep says, “There is given to me the abundance which belongeth to the ka and to the glorified”. Mount Hetep was itself the table-land of the oblations. Two paths led up to it, called the “double path”. These are the “paths of righteousness”. The valley of the shadow of death is the Ar-en- Tet or valley of the dead in the Ritual, where those who suffer the second death are buried for ever (Rit., ch. 19) by the great annihilator Seb. The deceased in the Ritual is seen ascending the mount with the supporting rod or staff in his hand. The staff of Amsu was a symbol of Osiris who rose again as Horus. It was buried with the deceased, and is found in the oldest coffins together with other weapons that were interred with the dead as types of a protecting power. “The Osiris receiveth the Amsu staff wherewith he got round the heaven” (Rit., ch. 130..). This elsewhere is called the palm of Amsu. The table likewise was prepared upon Mount Hetep, and piled with heaps of imperishable food. Hence the Osiris says, “I rest at the table of my father Osiris” (Rit., ch. 70). Mount Hetep was itself the table-land of the oblations. The Anointed – The Lord and his anointed as father and son had been already represented at Memphis by Ptah and Iu-em-hetep, at On by Atum and Nefer-Atum, at Abydos by Osiris and Horus of the resurrection. The lord’s anointed was the second Horus, Horus the adult, Horus who rose again in spirit after death to manifest the glory of the father with the holy oil upon his shining face which made him the anointed. The Lord’s anointed, called the Messiah in Hebrew, the Kristos in Greek ,and Chrestus in Latin, is the Messu in Egyptian. The “house of the lord” is designated by the speaker in the Ritual “the mansion where food is produced for me”, the mansion that was lifted up by Shu, the paradise of Am-Khemen. The scribe addressing the Egyptian Pharaoh says, “To the king, my lord, my gods, my sun-god”. (Records of the Past, vol. ii., p. 62, 2nd series.) Here the gods were the powers gathered into the one god as supreme. These when seven-fold were called the souls of Ra. They become the eight in the paradise of Am-Khemen. They are nine in the Put-cycle of Ptah, they were ten as the sephiroth of the kabalists, they are twelve in the final heaven of Atum-Ra. In a word, they are the Elohim as a form of the Egyptian Ali or Ari, a companionship of workers, and later creators. In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth”. The astronomical mythology of Egypt, from the time of Sut to that of Ptah, is involved in that brief statement. There are at least three different groups of the Elohim – that is, the Ali or Ili – with the plural ending of the name as Semitic. The first group of these creators was seven in number, with Sut at their head. The second was that of the eight in Am-Khemen, with Anup added to the seven. The third is the company of Ptah, who formed the Put-circle of the nine. These preceded Atum, who was Ra in his first sovereignty. And to show how the past of Egypt opens into immensity, Ptah is credited with being the supreme ruler for 9,000 years. Still earlier the followers of Horus reigned for 14,000 years and, as the astronomical legends show, the primary seven creators had previously marked out one great year in the circle of precession before they could become those lords of eternity at, the north celestial pole, which were represented by a group of seven stars that never set. Under the title of Elohim, both the one god and the company of gods are present, though concealed, just as Ptah and his associates the Ali were included in the Put-cycle, as Ptah the god, Iu the son of god, and the paut as the group of gods. And if the Put-cycle of the Ali, as now maintained, are the originals of the Phoenician and Hebrew Elohim, it follows that the deity Ptah is the one god of the group in the Genesis as well as in the original mythos. Although the name of Ptah may not be given, yet the creator as the worker in earth, the potter, the moulder or carver, is plainly apparent in the Hebrew Genesis. The Egyptian priests had also considered Tum identical with Ammon, the man rich in herds, honored as supreme god of Theba, to whom they had also attributed the epithet “Altaika”. Montu or Uranos also appears under the name Tum, Tumu (Pierret, Le Pantheon Egypt. 39. 112; Maspero, Etudes de myth. et d’arch. Egypt. II. 281), Atmu, Atumu (Lepsius, Uber d. ersten agypt. Gotterkreis, p. 31), Thamus (Plato, Phaedrus, c. 59), and Tomai in the Ethiopian lists (Drouin, Les listes royals ethiopiennes, p. 50). The ancient residence of Tum was in the northern countries. The northern wind came from Tum (Pierret, Le livre d. morts, p. 300. 525). Montu is called Helios (Sol, sun) by Manetho and was honored in Egytian theogony with the title Mos, a word which is not Egyptian (Lat. avus, Rom. mos) The Pelasgian empire, founded at the lower Danube, had a considerable geographical expansion even in the times of Uranos. According to Diodorus Siculus, Uranos’ reign extended especially over the western and northern parts of the ancient world (I. III. 56). From what we can gather though from the traditions of the ancients, Uranos had ruled in Europe over the regions of Oceanus potamos (Istru or the lower Danube); over the tablelands of the high mountains, Ourea machra or Carpathians (Hesiodus, Theog. v. 129), where was the powerful political and military center of the Pelasgian empire; over Pontos, considered as a son of Gaea or Terra (Ibid, v. 132); over Scythia, where he was venerated under the name Papaeus (Herodotus, lib. IV. 59; for Herodotus, Vesta – Terra was the wife of Papaeos, for Evhemerus she was the wife of Uranos – Diod. VI. 2. 8); and over the vast territory of Germany, where in the times of Tacitus he was still venerated under the name Tuisto deus, Terra editus (Germ. 2). South from Oceanus potamos, the reign of Uranos extended over the entire Hem peninsula. In Macedonia and in Thracia, Uranos was venerated as Zeus Ourios, and Zeus anaxi, identical with Jupiter Imperator of the Romans. Jupiter Urius, writes Eschyl, is the great beginner of the human genus, emperor (anaxi) by his own power (Suppl. v. 589-594). An ancient sanctuary dedicated to Jupiter Urius (even in the times of the Argonauts) was on the shores of the Thracian Bosphorus, at the straits of the Euxine Pontos (Arrianus, Peripl. Pont. Eux. c. 12). There, according to general knowledge, all the sailors who entered with their ships into the Euxine Pontos had to sacrifice to Jupiter Urius, to meet with favorable winds ; but in reality, this sacrifice was only a tax for free navigation and commerce on the waters of the Black Sea. The Euxine Pontos belonged in those times to the Pelasgian empire from the lower Danube. In the ancient history of Egypt, Montu-Ra or Uranos, “the king of the south and the north”, also figures with various other names and epithets, closely connected to the Greek legends and to the historical traditions from the northern parts of the Istru. In the oldest monumental lists and Egyptian papyri, Montu or Uranos also appears under the name Tum, Tumu (Pierret, Le Pantheon Egypt. 39. 112; Maspero, Etudes de myth. et d’arch. Egypt. II. 281), Atmu, Atumu (Lepsius, Uber d. ersten agypt. Gotterkreis, p. 31), Thamus (Plato, Phaedrus, c. 59), and Tomai in the Ethiopian lists (Drouin, Les listes royals ethiopiennes, p. 50). The ancient residence of Tum was in the northern countries. The northern wind came from Tum (Pierret, Le livre d. morts, p. 300. 525). Montu is called Helios (Sol, sun) by Manetho and was honored in Egytian theogony with the title Mos, a word which is not Egyptian (Lat. avus, Rom. mos) . Montu-Ra or Tum also had in the traditions of Egyptian priests the name Harmaku or in Greek form Harmachis, Armakhis, Harmais and Armais (Pierret, Le Pantheon Egypt. 95. 112; Maspero, Etudes, I. 257. II. 448; Brugsch, Hist. d’Egypte, I. p. 57; Grebaut, Hymne a Ammon-ra, p. 12), meaning the “Arim”, “Arman”. Harmakhis has on his forehead the crown of the south and north (Pierret, Le livre d. morts. p. 40). The colossal sphinx of Gizeh, cut in live rock, with a man’s figure and lion legs, presents the image of Harmakhis or Montu, and contained, according to the tradition communicated by Pliny, his grave (lib. XXXVI. 17). In the inscription from the Meternich stela it is told that “the legs of the lion” are “the legs of Montu” (Pierret, Pantheon. p. VII), while in another religious text we find the words: “Oh! Image of Montu! Oh! Lion!” (Maspero, Etud. II. 452). We shall present first the Egyptian version of the war of Osyris against Typhon, called Set in Egyptian papyri and inscriptions. After the dethronement of Saturn, the northern parts of the Pelasgian empire had in fact remained under the rule of Typhon, whose residence was in the country of the Arimii (Homer, Iliad, II. 783), north of Oceanus potamos (Istru), from where also derives his name Ahriman (Dupuis, Orig. d. tous les cultes, Iv. 410) given him by the populations of Persia and Bactria. In Egypt though, an African adventurer called Osyris had usurped the reign. In the beginning, he had asserted that he was a natural son of Ammon / Uranos (Pierret, Le Pantheon Egypt. p. 23, 107), but later that he was the eldest son of Saturn, who had transmitted to him the entire inheritance of the empire (Pierret, Le livre d. morts, p. 213, 83, 395, 488). We find with Diodorus Siculus the following data, collected from the Egyptian priests, about the expedition of Osyris in Asia and Europe, for the conquest of the ancient world: Osyris, wishing to earn an everlasting glory for his good deeds, gathered a large army with the intention to travel through the entire inhabited world, and to teach the humans everywhere how to plant the grape vine and how to cultivate the wheat and the barley, the use of which he said had been discovered by himself and his wife Isis. After he prepared all that was necessary for his expedition, Osyris entrusted the administration of the kingdom to his wife Isis, to whom he gave Hermes as counselor, and Hercules as military commander. Then, departing with his troupes, he passed from Egypt to Ethiopia, from there to Arabia, and advanced to the ends of the inhabited lands of India. From India he turned to the other peoples of Asia, crossed over the Hellespont to Europe, subjected Thrace and Macedonia, and finally returned to Egypt, bringing with him the most beautiful gifts, received from the subjugated peoples. In memory of this expedition, some said, a column was erected at Nysa in Arabia, with the following inscription: “My father was Saturn, the youngest of all the gods, and I am Osyris, that king who led his armies to all the lands right to the uninhabited lands of the Indians, and from there towards the parts of Ursa, to the sources of the river Istru, and from there even further, to the other parts of the earth, as far as the Ocean. I am by my age, the eldest son of Saturn….There is no place in the world which I had not reached, and I shared with everybody the good things which I myself have discovered (I. I. c. 17, 27). Osyris had conquered therefore, according to ancient traditions, not only Thrace and Macedonia, but also the central regions of Europe, as far as the Western Ocean. He is often called in religious texts: “Lord of the regions of the south and of the north”. He has two residences, one “in the southern country”, the other “in the northern country” (Pierret, Le livre d. morts, p. 444). But under this latter name the Egyptian papyri did not understand the lower Egypt, but the northern parts of the Pelasgian empire (Grebaut, Hymne a Ammon-Ra, p. 7). The expedition of Osyris in Europe had the character of a formidable invasion of African and Asiatic hordes. With these semi-wild elements Osyris had formed numerous colonies in the countries which he had conquered, true permanent garrisons, destined to inspire terror and submission in the conquered peoples. Apollonius Rhodius (IV. v. 272 seqq) writes in this regard that someone (Osyris), departing from Egypt, had wandered across the whole of Europe and Asia, and, basing himself on the strength and number of his soldiers, had colonized a big number of cities, some of which are inhabited even today, while others are not, because a long series of centuries have passed since those times”. In Europe though, the expedition of Osyris was met with a much stronger and resolute resistance, than in the vast provinces of Asia. Here the Arimic tribes from the lower Danube rose against Osyris, whom they did not acknowledge, either as son of Saturn, or as legitimate king over the Pelasgian empire. “The Egyptians”, writes Diodorus Siculus, “tell that in the time of queen Isis had lived those whom the Greeks call Gigantes, and that they are represented in Egyptian temples as being beaten by Osyris” (I. 26). This arrogant triumph of Osyris refers in any case only to the first successes of his expedition in Europe. The historical traditions of the Germans, extracted from ancient Greek sources, also mention Osyris under the name Oserich (Grimm, Die d. Heldensage, gottingen. 1829, p. 139, 180), about whom they say that he had inherited the rule over the entire north from his father Hertnit (Terra editus?), that he had undertaken an expedition against the country of the Giants (Getae), at the time when those were ruled by Melias (Greek melas, ep. meilas, black), meaning Nehes Set, Negru Set (TN – black Set), the name given to Set by the Egyptians. We find finally a historical note with Tacitus, saying that a part of the German tribes of the Svevs sacrificed to the Isis divinity. The origin of this Egyptian cult in the German countries is reduced without doubt to the times of Osyris (Germ. c. 9). But Typhon, reared in ancient Arimic traditions, a superb character, brave, martial and passionate, considered himself as the only legitimate heir of Saturn, and could not accept that a bastard, as he called Osyris, should reign over the empire of his father (Plutarc, De Is. c. 19. 54; Lepsius, Uber d. ersten agypt. Gotterkreis, p. 53). In that time, the most excellent force of the Pelasgian empire, the ancient noble class of the Titans, had been extinguished. Some had died in the many expeditions and wars of Saturn, and others had scattered through various countries, so that now the only war power of the Pelasgian empire was formed by the generation of the Gigantes, the ferocious tribes from Oceanus potamos, people from the mountains who, with their tall stature and their strength, surpassed by far the middle and pygmeic statures of the African indigenes. Against this southern invasion Typhon rose with the tribes of the Giants. Osyris was defeated and forced to withdraw beyond the Istru, and Typhon chased him with his mounted troupes of the Giants as far as Egypt. The religious Egyptian texts tell us that Osyris and his other allies had changed into animals, as soon as they saw that Typhon had reached Egypt with his armies (Pierret, Le livre d. morts, p. 78), but this is a simple allusion to the animal figures under which the Osyric divinities were depicted. Finally, Typhon caught Osyris and cut him to pieces (Diodorus, 1. I. 21; III. 62, 6; Macrobius, Somn. Scip. I. 12), which, as Suidas tells us (see ‘Osiris), had caused great sorrow for the Egyptians, who later celebrated for ever the memory of this deed. According to Egyptian traditions, Osyris was killed by Typhon in Egypt. According to Romanian traditions though, about which we shall speak later, the cutting of Osyris had taken place on the territory at north of the lower Istru . [1. Some of the Egyptian priests attributed this expedition to Sesostris or Sostris, a king whose personality and chronology could not be fixed to this day. According to Malala (I. II), Sesostris lived in the times of Hermes. He was therefore contemporary with Saturn and Typhon, so identical, from the chronological point of view, with Osyris. According to Herodotus (II. 103), Justinus (II. 3), and Strabo (XV. 1. 6), Sesostris was the first Egyptian king who subjugated all the peoples of Asia, passed from Asia over the Hellespont to Europe, and subjected the Thracians and the Scythians. But, according to religious Egyptian texts, the first expedition to Asia and Europe was attributed to Osyris, and on this glory of his was founded the whole system of Osyric religion, and the national pride of the Egyptian pharaohs. We also note here that according to Val. Flaccus (Argon. V. 418), Sesostris had been the first to come with war against the Getae, but frightened by the defeat of his armies, he had quickly returned to Theba on the banks of the Nile, accompanied by only a small number of his men]. Typhon reestablished the authority of the Pelasgian empire in North Africa, and reigned over Egypt as a legitimate king of the divine dynasty for 29 years. During this time he built near the Nile delta, towards Arabia, one of the vastest fortifications of Egypt, called in Egyptian theology Abaris and the Citadel of Typhon, with a periphery of 10,000 jugers (1000? = 46km), according to Manetho (Josephus, c. Apion. I. 26). This fortification, of such a gigantic size, was destined for the withdrawal of the army and of the Pelasgian population in case of a new war with the African indigenes . [2. The name of this citadel is not Egyptian. One Abaris, Hyperborean by nationality, is known as a famous prophet of Apollo. Virgil (Aen. Ix. 344) also mentions one Abaris, a soldier in the army of Turnus]. Typhon, with the troupes of the Giants, crossed afterwards from Egypt into Asia, to punish there the clients of Osyris, and the turbulent elements who had allied themselves with the African mob against the Pelasgian rule. He conquered Palestine, founded the kingdom of Judeea and the capital called Jerusalem (this is how we explain the tradition transmitted by Plutarc – c. 31 – that Typhon’s sons were Hierosolymos and Judaios). The holy books of the Hebrews also mention the expedition of the Giants to Palestine. The prophets Jeremiah (c. 4, 6) and Ezekiel (c. 38, 39) threaten the Hebrews with the terrible invasion of a people coming from the depth of the north, called “the spoiler of the tribes” and “the lords of the earth”. Their king, Gog from the country Magog, will fall on the Hebrews with his fine army of riders, armed with bows, swords, helmets and shields. They will take with them as allies the peoples of Libya and Ethiopia; the inhabitants of the cities and citadels will run from the clamor made by the riders and the archers, who afterwards will go in triumph all over the earth and will take the Hebrews in captivity. The poet Manilius mentions the war of Typhon on the territory of Babylonia (Astron. IV. 580; Ovid, Fast. II. v. 462). From Babylonia Typhon advanced victorious over Persia, then crossed into Bactria, and became all powerful over the whole of Asia. The new kings bowed at his feet. Typhon reached now with one hand to the east and with the other to the west, as Apollodorus writes. He had conquered again the entire ancient world. The terror spread by Typhon and his Giants among the peoples, which had accepted the illegitimate rule of Osyris, had remained legendary with the Egyptians and the Hebrews, the Persians and the Greeks. He is the most terrifying enemy of the southern peoples not of Pelasgian race, a severe avenger of his father and of the ancient nobility, the Titans . [3. In the national religion of Persia and Bactria, founded by Zoroastrus, Typhon, under the name Ahriman, is presented as the principle of evil and darkness, which is in perpetual battle with Oromazes, the god of good and light. He is represented under the form of a dragon, who had tried to measure himself with the sky]. After the killing of Osyris a new coalition of the southern peoples was formed against Typhon. Isis, the sister and wife of Osyris, helped by his son Horus, and by the southern nations inimical to the Pelasgian race, rose to avenge the death of Osyris and to reclaim the rule of the empire (Diodorus, I. I. 21). In this war Horus was wounded by Typhon on one eye (Plutarc, De Is. c. 55; Pierret, Livre d. morts, p. 252, 281, 299, 338, 345), and according to other traditions, he was killed by the Titans (Gigantes) (Diodorus, I. I. 25. 6). It is said about Typhon that he was defeated, caught and tied up, but that Isis had freed him (Lepsius, Uber d. e. agypt. Gotterkreis, p. 55). A new war then started, in which Typhon was defeated, chased away, or killed (Diodorus, I. I. 21, 3; 88, 4). According to the ancient Egyptian monuments though, the facts appear in a completely different light: Horus could not dethrone Typhon, and after many and prolonged battles, a brotherly affection was born between them, so that they divided the empire of the ancient world in two halves, Set or Typhon ruling over the northern regions, and Horus over the southern (Maspero, Etudes, II. 329; Lepsius, p. 51; Pierret, Le Pantheon Egypt. 49). With the advent of the wars of Osyris and Horus against Typhon, a general revolution against the ancient Pelasgian domination and civilization began in the southern countries. In those times Egypt, Phoenicia, Palestine, Chaldea, Assyria and Media contained an immense servile population, formed of subjugated races, and of elements of obscure origin, gathered from the sands of the deserts and from various wild lands. These colonies of slaves, private and public, were regularly used for the reclamation works of lakes and swamps, for regularizing the course of rivers, opening of roads, fortification of cities, building of palaces, temples, towers, pyramids, transportation of the war machines, and finally, for pastoral and agricultural works. The ancient Arimic monarchy, exactly like the ancient Pelasgoan family, was composed only by masters and slaves. In the Egyptian religious texts, Osyris and Horus appear only as representatives of the subjugated races of Egypt, Libya, Ethiopia and Arabia. They wanted to free the indigenous populations from the oppression of the Pelasgian pastoral aristocracy. But on another hand, Osyris and Horus wanted to snatch from the hands of Typhon the scepter of the divine dynasty, and to bring the southern elements to supremacy, to overthrow the superb, despotic, luxury loving race from the northern parts. This is why Osyris went from Egypt to Ethiopia, and from there to Arabia, and all the other southern provinces of Asia: to firstly incite to revolt the lands from further away from the center of the empire. He then turned towards Europe, followed by a great multitude of foreign elements, in order to occupy the ancient and glorious reigning seat of the divine dynasty (Pierret, LIvre d. morts, p. 136). With the rule of Osyris over Egypt started the persecution of the divinities, the customs, and the Pelasgian dominant class. Osyris proclaimed himself in Egypt as sovereign of all the gods, replacing Uranos (Montu) and Saturn (Seb). The ancient Pelasgian religion was replaced by the priests of Osyris with the primitive religion of the indigenous African peoples, a stupid superstition, which venerated their divinities under animal forms (Gibbon, Hist. d. decad. d. I. l’empire rom, ed. 1835, I. 19; Dion, I. 40. 53; Val. Maxim. I. 3); which proclaimed as a principle that after the death of the human body, the soul entered in other animals which were born at that moment; and that only after the soul passed through all the terrestrial, marine and flying animals, for a long 3,000 years period, it returned into the body of another man (Herodotus, lib. II. 123). King Amenophis, one of the most ancient pharaohs of Egypt, ordered that all the images of the kings of the divine dynasty be destroyed, and their names be erased from all the public monuments (Lepsius, p. 40-43). This persecution was especially directed against the name and images of Ammon (Uranos, Tum). At Theba, writes Plutarc, a column existed, on which were written curses against king Minis (Saturn), he who had first prompted the Egyptians to lead a simple and sober life (De Iside, c. 8), while in ancient Pelasgian traditions, Saturn was celebrated as the author of a better way of life, “vitae melioris auctor”. But the name and figure of Set or Typhon especially, had been erased from all public monuments (Lepsius, p. 52). The images of Osyris and Horus had been painted in the tombs of the Egyptian kings instead and over the figure of Set, and this persecution of the memory of Set had continued until the times of the 21st dynasty. In Osyric theology, Typhon is presented as a destroyer, all powerful and undefeatable (Lepsius, p. 53); he shakes everything from its foundation, and ruins everything; he destroys all the sacred teachings of Osyris; he is the sun or the draught which dries and burns; he is the evil spirit, which has filled the earth and the sea with misery; he is the darkness and the lie, the calumniator, who has accused Osyris to have been born of an illegitimate marriage; finally, he is the great serpent which dwells in the primordial water Nun (Oceanus, Istru) and is compared with Python (Pierret, Panth. Egypt. p. 57, 98; Le livre d. morts, p. 23, 46, 135-137), the dragon born of Gaea or Terra, the enemy of the gods, killed by Apollo. The Phoenicians and the Egyptians also called Typhon Smy, Smu (Plutarc, De Isid. c. 62), a name which cannot be explained in the southern languages, but which corresponds to the Romanian form “smeu”, huge demon which breaths fire, dragon, Lat. draco. (In songs of old, Romanian heroes are also often called “smei” – Alecsandri, Poesii pop. p. 153, 196). The Egyptian priests had also attributed to Typhon the constellation of the north, or Ursa major (Plutarc, De Is. c. 21, ed. Parthey, p. 36); Dupuis, II. 357; Maspero, Etudes, II. p. 49).According to the geographical ideas of antiquity, the two “Ursae” were the particular constellations of Dacia, called Ursa Getica, Geticum plaustrum, Geticus polus. This region was therefore indicated in the geography of the Egyptian priests as the country of Typhon. Finally, the Egyptian priests had also consecrated to Typhon one of the most destructive comets. There is, writes Pliny, a comet, fatal for the peoples of Ethiopia and Egypt, known under the name Typhon, a king from the ancient times. This comet has an appearance of fire, a shape twisted in spirals and a fearful aspect, so that it can be considered more as a knot of fire, than as a real star (Pliny, I. II. 23. 2; Maneto, fragm 84). Typhon was also called by the Egyptians Set nehes, meaning Set the Black (TN – Negru). Under this name he was represented in Egyptian hieroglyphs by a raven with its ears raised up, and with blunt tips. The raven of Set was often used as the first graphic sign indicating the “Blacks” and the “country of the Blacks” (Lepsius, p. 51). The raven, as we know, had been a religious symbol of the Hyperboreans from the Carpathians; it was the companion of Apollo the Hyperborean as god of light (Eratosthenes, Cataster. 41; Herodotus, I. IV. 15. 2). As a principal religious symbol the raven is also figured on the Hyperborean treasure from Petrosa, conserved today in the National Museum of Bucharest (see Odobesco, Le tresor de Petrossa, II. 33). Finally, the raven was also consecrated in antiquity to Saturn and to Mithras. The epithet nehes, “negru” (TN – black), used by the Egyptians to characterize Typhon, was in fact only an ancient ethnographic attribute of the Arimic peoples from the lower Danube. Typhon, according to the poet Quintus, was from Gaia melaina, Terra nigra (Posthom. V. 485). The raven, the sacred symbol of Apollo the Hyperborean, represents an emblematic connection with the “black country”, or the “country of the Blacks” from the lower Danube. Finally, to Typhon was also consecrated the ass, the characteristic animal of the Hyperborean shepherds from the Carpathians . But old age came on, and infirmities followed; the body of Ra grew bent, “his mouth trembled, his slaver trickled down to earth and his saliva dropped upon the ground.” Isis, who had hitherto been a mere woman-servant in the household of the Pharaoh, conceived the project of stealing his secret from him, “that she might possess the world and make herself a goddess by the name of the august god.” Force would have been unavailing; all enfeebled as he was by reason of his years, none was strong enough to contend successfully against him. But Isis “was a woman more knowing in her malice than millions of men, clever among millions of the gods, equal to millions of spirits, to whom as unto Ra nothing was unknown either in heaven or upon earth.” She contrived a most ingenious stratagem. When man or god was struck down by illness, the only chance of curing him lay in knowing his real name, and thereby adjuring the evil being that tormented him. Isis determined to cast a terrible malady upon Ra, concealing its cause from him; then to offer her services as his nurse, and by means of his sufferings to extract from him the mysterious word indispensable to the success of the exorcism. She gathered up mud impregnated with the divine saliva, and moulded of it a sacred serpent which she hid in the dust of the road. Suddenly bitten as he was setting out upon his daily round, the god cried out aloud, “his voice ascended into heaven and his Nine called: ‘What is it? what is it?’ and his gods: ‘What is the matter? what is the matter?’ but he could make them no answer so much did his lips tremble, his limbs shake, and the venom take hold upon his flesh as the Nile seizeth upon the land which it invadeth.” Presently he came to himself, and succeeded in describing his sensations. “Something painful hath stung me; my heart perceiveth it, yet my two eyes see it not; my hand hath not wrought it, nothing that I have made knoweth it what it is, yet have I never tasted suffering like unto it, and there is no pain that may overpass it…. Fire it is not, water it is not, yet is my heart in flames, my flesh trembleth, all my members are full of shiverings born of breaths of magic. Behold! let there be brought unto me children of the gods of beneficent words, who know the power of their mouths, and whose science reacheth unto heaven.” They came, these children of the gods, all with their books of magic. There came Isis with her sorcery, her mouth full of life-giving breaths, her recipe for the destruction of pain, her words which pour life into breathless throats, and she said: “What is it? what is it, O father of the gods? May it not be that a serpent hath wrought this suffering in thee; that one of thy children hath lifted up his head against thee? Surely he shall be overthrown by beneficent incantations, and I will make him to retreat at the sight of thy rays.” On learning the cause of his torment, the Sun-god is terrified, and begins to lament anew: “I, then, as I went along the ways, travelling through my double land of Egypt and over my mountains, that I might look upon that which I have made, I was bitten by a serpent that I saw not. Fire it is not, water it is not, yet am I colder than water, I burn more than fire, all my members stream with sweat, I tremble, mine eye is not steady, no longer can I discern the sky, drops roll from my face as in the season of summer.” Isis proposes her remedy, and cautiously asks him his ineffable name. But he divines her trick, and tries to evade it by an enumeration of his titles. He takes the universe to witness that he is called “Khopri in the morning, Ra at noon, Tumu in the evening.” The poison did not recede, but steadily advanced, and the great god was not eased. Then Isis said to Ra: “Thy name was not spoken in that which thou hast said. Tell it to me and the poison will depart; for he liveth upon whom a charm is pronounced in his own name.” The poison glowed like fire, it was strong as the burning of flame, and the Majesty of Ra said, “I grant thee leave that thou shouldest search within me, O mother Isis! and that my name pass from my bosom into thy bosom.” In truth, the all-powerful name was hidden within the body of the god, and could only be extracted thence by means of a surgical operation similar to that practised upon a corpse which is about to be mummified. Isis undertook it, carried it through successfully, drove out the poison, and made herself a goddess by virtue of the name. The cunning of a mere woman had deprived Ra of his last talisman. In course of time men perceived his decrepitude. They took counsel against him: “Lo! his Majesty waxeth old, his bones are of silver, his flesh is of gold, his hair of lapis-lazuli.” As soon as his Majesty perceived that which they were saying to each other, his Majesty said to those who were of his train, “Call together for me my Divine Eye, Shu, Tafnuit, Geb, and Nuit, the father and the mother gods who were with me when I was in the Nu, with the god Nu. Let each bring his cycle along with him; then, when thou shalt have brought them in secret, thou shalt take them to the great mansion that they may lend me their counsel and their consent, coming hither from the Nu into this place where I have manifested myself.” So the family council comes together: the ancestors of Ra, and his posterity still awaiting amid the primordial waters the time of their manifestation–his children Shu and Tafnuit, his grandchildren Geb and Nuit. They place themselves, according to etiquette, on either side his throne, prostrate, with their foreheads to the ground, and thus their conference begins: “O Nu, thou the eldest of the gods, from whom I took my being, and ye the ancestor-gods, behold! men who are the emanation of mine eye have taken counsel together against me! Tell me what ye would do, for I have bidden you here before I slay them, that I may hear what ye would say thereto.” Nu, as the eldest, has the right to speak first, and demands that the guilty shall be brought to judgment and formally condemned. “My son Ra, god greater than the god who made him, older than the gods who created him, sit thou upon thy throne, and great shall be the terror when thine eye shall rest upon those who plot together against thee!” But Ra not unreasonably fears that when men see the solemn pomp of royal justice, they may suspect the fate that awaits them, and “flee into the desert, their hearts terrified at that which I have to say to them.” The desert was even then hostile to the tutelary gods of Egypt, and offered an almost inviolable asylum to their enemies. The conclave admits that the apprehensions of Ra are well founded, and pronounces in favour of summary execution; the Divine Eye is to be the executioner. “Let it go forth that it may smite those who have devised evil against thee, for there is no Eye more to be feared than thine when it attacketh in the form of Hathor.” So the Eye takes the form of Hathor, suddenly falls upon men, and slays them right and left with great strokes of the knife. After some hours, Ra, who would chasten but not destroy his children, commands her to cease from her carnage; but the goddess has tasted blood, and refuses to obey him. “By thy life,” she replies, “when I slaughter men then is my heart right joyful!” That is why she was afterwards called Sokhit the slayer, and represented under the form of a fierce lioness. Nightfall stayed her course in the neighbourhood of Heracleopolis; all the way from Heliopolis she had trampled through blood. As soon as she had fallen asleep, Ra hastily took effectual measures to prevent her from beginning her work again on the morrow. “He said: ‘Call on my behalf messengers agile and swift, who go like the wind.’ When these messengers were straightway brought to him, the Majesty of the god said: ‘Let them run to Elephantine and bring me mandragora in plenty.'”[**] ** The mandragora of Elephantine was used in the manufacture of an intoxicating and narcotic drink employed either in medicine or in magic. In a special article, Brugsch has collected particulars preserved by the texts as to the uses of this plant. It was not as yet credited with the human form and the peculiar kind of life ascribed to it by western sorcerers. When they had brought him the mandragora, the Majesty of this great god summoned the miller which is in Heliopolis that he might bray it; and the women-servants having crushed grain for the beer, the mandragora, and also human blood, were mingled with the liquor, and thereof was made in all seven thousand jars of beer. Ra himself examined this delectable drink, and finding it to possess the wished-for properties: “‘It is well,’ said he; ‘therewith shall I save men from the goddess;’ then, addressing those of his train: ‘Take these jars in your arms, and carry them to the place where she has slaughtered men.’ Ra, the king, caused dawn to break at midnight, so that this philtre might be poured down upon the earth; and the fields were flooded with it to the depth of four palms, according as it pleased the souls of his Majesty.” In the morning the goddess came, “that she might return to her carnage, but she found that all was flooded, and her countenance softened; when she had drunken, it was her heart that softened; she went away drunk, without further thought of men.” There was some fear lest her fury might return when the fumes of drunkenness were past, and to obviate this danger Ra instituted a rite, partly with the object of instructing future generations as to the chastisement which he had inflicted upon the impious, partly to console Sokhit for her discomfiture. He decreed that “on New Year’s Day there should be brewed for her as many jars of philtre as there were priestesses of the sun. That was the origin of all those jars of philtre, in number equal to that of the priestesses, which, at the feast of Hathor, all men make from that day forth.” Peace was re-established, but could it last long? Would not men, as soon as they had recovered from their terror, betake themselves again to plotting against the god? Besides, Ra now felt nothing but disgust for our race. The ingratitude of his children had wounded him deeply; he foresaw ever-renewed rebellions as his feebleness became more marked, and he shrank from having to order new massacres in which mankind would perish altogether. “By my life,” says he to the gods who accompanied him, “my heart is too weary for me to remain with mankind, and slay them until they are no more: annihilation is not of the gifts that I love to make.” And the gods exclaim in surprise: “Breathe not a word of thy weariness at a time when thou dost triumph at thy pleasure.” But Ra does not yield to their representations; he will leave a kingdom wherein they murmur against him, and turning towards Nu he says: “My limbs are decrepit for the first time; I will not go to any place where I can be reached.” It was no easy matter to find him an inaccessible retreat owing to the imperfect state in which the universe had been left by the first effort of the demiurge. Nu saw no other way out of the difficulty than that of setting to work to complete the creation. Ancient tradition had imagined the separation of earth and sky as an act of violence exercised by Shu upon Geb and Nuit. History presented facts after a less brutal fashion, and Shu became a virtuous son who devoted his time and strength to upholding Nuit, that he might thereby do his father a service. Nuit, for her part, showed herself to be a devoted daughter whom there was no need to treat roughly in order to teach her her duty; of herself she consented to leave her husband, and place her beloved ancestor beyond reach. “The Majesty of Nu said: ‘Son Shu, do as thy father Ra shall say; and thou, daughter Nuit, place him upon thy back and hold him suspended above the earth!’ Nuit said: ‘And how then, my father Nu?’ Thus spake Nuit, and she did that which Nu commanded her; she changed herself into a cow, and placed the Majesty of Ra upon her back. When those men who had not been slain came to give thanks to Ra, behold! they found him no longer in his palace; but a cow stood there, and they perceived him upon the back of the cow.” They found him so resolved to depart that they did not try to turn him from his purpose, but only desired to give him such a proof of their repentance as should assure them of the complete pardon of their crime. “They said unto him: ‘Wait until the morning, O Ra! our lord, and we will strike down thine enemies who have taken counsel against thee.’ So his Majesty returned to his mansion, descended from the cow, went in along with them, and earth was plunged into darkness. But when there was light upon earth the next morning, the men went forth with their bows and their arrows, and began to shoot at the enemy. Whereupon the Majesty of this god said unto them: ‘Your sins are remitted unto you, for sacrifice precludes the execution of the guilty.’ And this was the origin upon earth of sacrifices in which blood was shed.” Thus it was that when on the point of separating for ever, the god and men came to an understanding as to the terms of their future relationship. Men offered to the god the life of those who had offended him. Human sacrifice was in their eyes the obligatory sacrifice, the only one which could completely atone for the wrongs committed against the godhead; man alone was worthy to wash away with his blood the sins of men.[*] For this one time the god accepted the expiation just as it was offered to him; then the repugnance which he felt to killing his children overcame him, he substituted beast for man, and decided that oxen, gazelles, birds, should henceforth furnish the material for sacrifice.[**] * This legend, which seeks to explain the discontinuance of human sacrifices among the Egyptians, affords direct proof of their existence in primitive times. This is confirmed by many facts. We shall see that _uashbiti_ laid in graves were in place of the male or female slaves who were originally slaughtered at the tombs of the rich and noble that they might go to serve their masters in the next world. Even in Thebes, under the XIXth dynasty, certain rock-cut tombs contain scenes which might lead us to believe that occasionally at least human victims were sent to doubles of distinction. During this same period, moreover, the most distinguished hostile chiefs taken in war were still put to death before the gods. In several towns, as at Eilithyia and at Heliopolis, or before certain gods, such as Osiris or Kronos-Geb, human sacrifice lasted until near Roman times. But generally speaking it was very rare. Almost everywhere cakes of a particular shape, and called [Greek word], or else animals, had been substituted for man. ** It was asserted that the partisans of Apopi and of Sit, who were the enemies of Ra, Osiris, and the other gods, had taken refuge in the bodies of certain animals. Hence, it was really human or divine victims which were offered when beasts were slaughtered in sacrifice before the altars. This point settled, he again mounted the cow, who rose, supported on her four legs as on so many pillars; and her belly, stretched out above the earth like a ceiling, formed the sky. He busied himself with organizing the new world which he found on her back; he peopled it with many beings, chose two districts in which to establish his abode, the Field of Reeds–_Sokhit Ialu_–and the Field of Rest–_Sokhit Hotpit_–and suspended the stars which were to give light by night. All this is related with many plays upon words, intended, according to Oriental custom, as explanations of the names which the legend assigned to the different regions of heaven. At sight of a plain whose situation pleased him, he cried: “The Field rests in the distance!”–and that was the origin of the Field of Rest. He added: “There will I gather plants!”–and from this the Field of Reeds took its name. While he gave himself up to this philological pastime, Nuit, suddenly transported to unaccustomed heights, grew frightened, and cried for help: “For pity’s sake give me supports to sustain me!” This was the origin of the support-gods. They came and stationed themselves by each of her four legs, steadying these with their hands, and keeping constant watch over them. As this was not enough to reassure the good beast, “Ra said, ‘My son Shu, place thyself beneath my daughter Nuit, and keep watch on both sides over the supports, who live in the twilight; hold thou her up above thy head, and be her guardian!'” Shu obeyed; Nuit composed herself, and the world, now furnished with the sky which it had hitherto lacked, assumed its present symmetrical form. Shu and Geb succeeded Ra, but did not acquire so lasting a popularity as their great ancestor. Nevertheless they had their annals, fragments of which have come down to us. Their power also extended over the whole universe: “The Majesty of Shu was the excellent king of the sky, of the earth, of Hades, of the water, of the winds, of the inundation, of the two chains of mountains, of the sea, governing with a true voice according to the precepts of his father Ra-Harmakhis.” Only “the children of the serpent Apopi, the impious ones who haunt the solitary places and the deserts,” disavowed his authority. Like the Bedawin of later times, they suddenly streamed in by the isthmus routes, went up into Egypt under cover of night, slew and pillaged, and then hastily returned to their fastnesses with the booty which they had carried off. From sea to sea Ka had fortified the eastern frontier against them. He had surrounded the principal cities with walls, embellished them with temples, and placed within them those mysterious talismans more powerful for defence than a garrison of men. Thus Ait-nobsu, near the mouth of the Wady-Tumilat, possessed one of the rods of the Sun-god, also the living uraeus of his crown whose breath consumes all that it touches, and, finally, a lock of his hair, which, being cast into the waters of a lake, was changed into a hawk-headed crocodile to tear the invader in pieces.[*] * Egyptians of all periods never shrank from such marvels. One of the tales of the Theban empire tells us of a piece of wax which, on being thrown into the water, changed into a living crocodile capable of devouring a man. The talismans which protected Egypt against invasion are mentioned by the Pseudo-Callisthenes, who attributes their invention to Nectanebo. Arab historians often refer to them. The employment of these talismans was dangerous to those unaccustomed to use them, even to the gods themselves. Scarcely was Geb enthroned as the successor of Shu, who, tired of reigning, had reascended into heaven in a nine days’ tempest, before he began his inspection of the eastern marches, and caused the box in which was kept the uraeus of Ra to be opened. “As soon as the living viper had breathed its breath against the Majesty of Geb there was a great disaster–great indeed, for those who were in the train of the god perished, and his Majesty himself was burned in that day. When his Majesty had fled to the north of Ait-nobsu, pursued by the fire of this magic urasus, behold! when he came to the fields of henna, the pain of his burn was not yet assuaged, and the gods who were behind him said unto him: ‘O Sire! let them take the lock of Ra which is there, when thy Majesty shall go to see it and its mystery, and his Majesty shall be healed as soon as it shall be placed upon thee.’ So the Majesty of Geb caused the magic lock to be brought to Piarit,–the lock for which was made that great reliquary of hard stone which is hidden in the secret place of Piarit, in the district of the divine lock of the Lord Ra,–and behold! this fire departed from the members of the Majesty of Geb. And many years afterwards, when this lock, which had thus belonged to Geb, was brought back to Piarit in Ait-nobsu, and cast into the great lake of Piarit whose name is _Ait-tostesu_, the dwelling of waves, that it might be purified, behold! this lock became a crocodile: it flew to the water and became Sobku, the divine crocodile of Ait-nobsu.” In this way the gods of the solar dynasty from generation to generation multiplied talismans and enriched the sanctuaries of Egypt with relics. Were there ever duller legends and a more senile phantasy! They did not spring spontaneously from the lips of the people, but were composed at leisure by priests desirous of enhancing the antiquity of their cult, and augmenting the veneration of its adherents in order to increase its importance. Each city wished it to be understood that its feudal sanctuary was founded upon the very day of creation, that its privileges had been extended or confirmed during the course of the first divine dynasty, and that these pretensions were supported by the presence of objects in its treasury which had belonged to the oldest of the king-gods. Such was the origin of tales in which the personage of the beneficent Pharaoh is often depicted in ridiculous fashion. Did we possess all the sacred archives, we should frequently find them quoting as authentic history more than one document as artificial as the chronicle of Ait-nobsu. When we come to the later members of the Ennead, there is a change in the character and in the form of these tales. Doubtless Osiris and Set did not escape unscathed out of the hands of the theologians; but even if sacerdotal interference spoiled the legend concerning them, it did not altogether disfigure it. Here and there in it is still noticeable a sincerity of feeling and liveliness of imagination such as are never found in those of Shu and of Geb. This arises from the fact that the functions of these gods left them strangers, or all but strangers, to the current affairs of the world. Shu was the stay, Geb the material foundation of the world; and so long as the one bore the weight of the firmament without bending, and the other continued to suffer the tread of human generations upon his back, the devout took no more thought of them than they themselves took thought of the devout. The life of Osiris, on the other hand, was intimately mingled with that of the Egyptians, and his most trivial actions immediately reacted upon their fortunes. They followed the movements of his waters; they noted the turning-points in his struggles against drought; they registered his yearly decline, yearly compensated by his aggressive returns and his intermittent victories over Typhon; his proceedings and his character were the subject of their minute study. If his waters almost invariably rose upon the appointed day and extended over the black earth of the valley, this was no mechanical function of a being to whom the consequences of his conduct are indifferent; he acted upon reflection, and in full consciousness of the service that he rendered. He knew that by spreading the inundation he prevented the triumph of the desert; he was life, he was goodness–_Onnofriu_–and Isis, as the partner of his labours, became like him the type of perfect goodness. But while Osiris developed for the better, Set was transformed for the worse, and increased in wickedness as his brother gained in purity and moral elevation. In proportion as the person of Set grew more defined, and stood out more clearly, the evil within him contrasted more markedly with the innate goodness of Osiris, and what had been at first an instinctive struggle between two beings somewhat vaguely defined–the desert and the Nile, water and drought–was changed into conscious and deadly enmity. No longer the conflict of two elements, it was war between two gods; one labouring to produce abundance, while the other strove to do away with it; one being all goodness and life, while the other was evil and death incarnate. A very ancient legend narrates that the birth of Osiris and his brothers took place during the five additional days at the end of the year; a subsequent legend explained how Nuit and Geb had contracted marriage against the express wish of Ra, and without his knowledge. When he became aware of it he fell into a violent rage, and cast a spell over the goddess to prevent her giving birth to her children in any month of any year whatever. But Thot took pity upon her, and playing at draughts with the moon won from it in several games one seventy-second part of its fires, out of which he made five whole days; and as these were not included in the ordinary calendar, Nuit could then bring forth her five children, one after another: Osiris, Haroeris, Sit, Isis, and Nephthys. Osiris was beautiful of face, but with a dull and black complexion; his height exceeded five and a half yards.[*] * As a matter of fact, Osiris is often represented with black or green hands and face, as is customary for gods of the dead; it was probably this peculiarity which suggested the popular idea of his black complexion. A magic papyrus of Ramesside times fixes the stature of the god at seven cubits, and a phrase in a Ptolemaic inscription places it at eight cubits, six palms, three fingers. He was born at Thebes, in the first of the additional days, and straightway a mysterious voice announced that the lord of all–_nibu-r-zaru_–had appeared. The good news was hailed with shouts of joy, followed by tears and lamentations when it became known with what evils he was menaced.[*] The echo reached Ra in his far-off dwelling, and his heart rejoiced, notwithstanding the curse which he had laid upon Nuit. He commanded the presence of his great-grandchild in Xois, and unhesitatingly acknowledged him as the heir to his throne. Osiris had married his sister Isis, even, so it was said, while both of them were still within their mother’s womb;[**] and when he became king he made her queen regent and the partner of all his undertakings. * One variant of the legend told that a certain Pamylis of Thebes having gone to draw water had heard a voice proceeding from the temple of Zeus, which ordered him to proclaim aloud to the world the birth of the great king, the beneficent Osiris. He had received the child from the hands of Kronos, brought it up to youth, and to him the Egyptians had consecrated the feast of Pamylies, which resembled the Phallophoros festival of the Greeks. ** _De Iside et Osiride_, Leemans’ edition, Sec. 12, pp. 20, 21. Haroeris, the Apollo of the Greeks, was supposed to be the issue of a marriage consummated before the birth of his parents while they were still within the womb of their mother Rhea-Nuit. This was a way of connecting the personage of Haroeris with the Osirian myths by confounding him with the homonymous Harsiesis, the son of Isis, who became the son of Osiris through his mother’s marriage with that god. The Egyptians were as yet but half civilized; they were cannibals, and though occasionally they lived upon the fruits of the earth, they did not know how to cultivate them. Osiris taught them the art of making agricultural implements–the plough and the hoe,–field labour, the rotation of crops, the harvesting of wheat and barley,[*] and vine culture.

Amaunet (Serpent) One of the eight Primal Beings of the Ogdoad, being paired with Amon as co-spirits of Hidden Powers. She is a fertility Goddess, and is considered a protectress of the nation, especially during times of royal succession.

Ammut (Crocodile) Eater of souls, she is the final destination for those whose hearts have been found weighted down with guilt in the Hall of the Two Truths.

Amon (Amun) (Serpent) One of the eight Primal Beings of the Ogdoad, being paired with Amaunet as co-Spirits of Hidden Powers. Spoken of as being omnipresent but concealed, the source of mystery and enigma.Regarded as a creator deity, and Lord of the Sun, he is also a source of masculine vitality and sexual energy. His cult rose to great prominence, being only briefly eclipsed by Aten in the 14th century BCE. Often combined with Ra to form the solar divinity Amon-Ra, in late classical times He also became synchretized with the Roman Jupiter to a certain degree.

Anubis (Inupu) (Jackal) Protector and Patron of mortuaries, and overseer of the judgement of the dead in the Hall of the Two Truths; He is also the guide and presiding spirit of the embalming process in particular and the journey of departed souls to their final destiny in general.

Anukis (Anuket) (Gazelle) Goddess of the Lower Nile, connected fertility of the fields, and also with birth, and midwifery.

Apepi (Serpent) The eternal enemy of Amon-Ra, and the personification of evil and malignancy. Mythologically He plays out His role by attempting to prevent the Solar Boat’s passage across the sky. Thus, He is also a patron of Shadow and Darkness.

Apis (Bull) The intermediary between the Human and Divine worlds, son of Isis and the living incarnation of Ptah. He appeared on earth in successive incarnations as a bull, entirely black save for a small white spot on the forehead, and dwelling in His temple at Memphis in great state. Each successive bull was mummified and buried in the royal necropolis at Saqqara.

Aten (none) The solar disc, as distinct from Amon-Ra (Lord of the Sun). He is portrayed as a Hand extending from a radiant solar disc, never by humanoid or animal imagery. The cult of Aten dates back to the late 3rd millenium BCE, but the pinnacle of His influence was felt in the 14th century when a political rivalry between the priesthoods of Amon and Aten culminated in the establishment (1346 BCE) of Aten as a genuinely monotheistic cult (all the other divinities being suppressed) during the reign of Akhnaten (1350-1334 BCE). Following the death of Akhnaten, the cult of Aten was in turn suppressed (although not outlawed as such), most of his temples and all of His influence being destroyed.

Atum (Human) A Solar deity, a self-created Primordial Being who in turn created Su and Tefnut. Often combined with Ra, under the style of Atum-Ra, He is the Aspect of the sun as it sets in the west.

Banebdjedet (Ram) Consort of Hatmehet, He is a fairly obscure Deity whose best-known tale involves His (unsuccessful) mediation between Horus and Seth.

Bastet (Cat) A female Aspect of the Sun God, usually Ra, sometimes Amon, either of whom She is ascribed as being the daughter of in various texts. She personifies the retributive element of the Sun, and is seen as the bringer of divine vengeance to Amon-Ra’s enemies. In early times She was portrayed as having the head of a lioness, but later images show the smaller ancestor of today’s housecat. She was Patroness of domestic cats, and in that role continues today to enjoy a certain vogue among New-Age believers. See also, Mafdet.

Benu (Heron) A solar deity, usually considered an aspect of Atum and, like Him, self-created in Primordial times. His function seems to have been connected with rebirth in the afterlife. That, and His avian character, may have influenced later cultures, especially Hellenic, in the development of the Phoenix story.

Bes (Humanoid) A grotesque-appearing dwarf, but of protective and benign character. He is a male Guardian of womankind in childbirth, and also is a Ward against dangerous creatures of all sorts; his ugliness is a primary attribute in frightening evil away.

Buto (Wadjet) (Cobra) A solar Goddess, the personification of Ra’s retributive power and, as such, an Aspect of the cleansing and purifying power of the sun’s heat. She is regarded as a primary defender of authority, especially royal, and She is a tutelary Goddess of Lower Egypt. She also has some connections with maternal powers, in that She is considered the wetnurse of Horus, as well as the mother of Nefertum.

Geb (Human) An Earth-God, normally depicted in a green hue (note a parallel with the Green Man), He is a Lord of vegetation and the vitality of the soil. He is also a Patron of herbalism, and is considered a healer. Son of Su and Tefnut, brother and consort of Nut, father of Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys.

Hapy (Nile Goose (two-headed)) God of the Nile, and director of the annual innundation, without which the Nile civilization could not endure. As such, He is a fertility figure and, in fact, is often portrayed androgynously.

Hatmehet (Fish) Consort of Banebdjedet, She is the Guardian and Patron of fishermen and the fishing industry.

Hathor (Cow) Daughter of Ra, and Goddess of love and sexuality; She was considered the mother of all the Pharoahs, and Royal princesses automatically were Her priestesses by birth. Enormously popular, She has many and diverse functions, including oracular knowledge of every childs destiny, and a patronage of music and dance. One of the few Egyptian divinities to transcend the culture, She found favour in the Graeco-Roman world as well, where Her image affected to one degree or another contemporaneous imagery of Aphrodite.

Hauhet (Serpent) One of the eight Primal Beings of the Ogdoad, being paired with Heh as co-Spirits of Infinity.

Heh (Frog) One of the eight Primal Beings of the Ogdoad, being paired with Hauhet as co-Spirits of Infinity.

Heket (Frog) A Goddess concerned with birth, particularly with alleviating the dangers and pain of the birth process.

Heretkau (Human) Cthonic mortuary Goddess concerned with protection of souls in the afterlife. Images often associate Her as a servant or assistant to Isis.

Hesat (Cow) Goddess of pregnancy and Source of nursing milk (the “beer of Hesat”). The mother of Anubis.

Horus (Haru) (Falcon) Son, posthumously, of Osiris by Isis, and symbol of divine vengeance. Mythologically He is the originator of the Egyptian state and it’s first sovereign, the land of which He wrested from Seth when He avenged the slaughter of Osiris. Successive Pharaohs were regarded as the Earthly incarnations of Horus. Thus, Horus represents the core of national and dynastic stability, and as such is the divine Source of sovereignty.

Isis (‘Aset) (Human, sometimes Hawk) Daughter of Geb and Nut, sister and consort of Osiris, mother of Horus. An enormously popular and enduring figure in the pantheon, Isis is one of the few Egyptian divinities to find widespread worship outside of Egypt as well. She is to Her people the female Aspect of national stability and sovereignty, as well as being a primary symbol of nurturance and motherhood. During Osiris’ battles with Seth, She twice restored him, impregnating herself upon his remains to give birth to His heir and avenger, Horus. Regarded as paramount in magical power, Her Name figured in all manner of incantations, especially those of healing. To the Ptolomaic and Roman worlds, She became an important symbol of divine sanction for rebirth and reincarnation, and several mystery cults were formed around her tale. Iconography portraying Her with the infant Horus strongly influenced contemporary images of the Virgin Mary and infant Jesus.

Kauket (Serpent) One of the eight Primal Beings of the Ogdoad, being paired with Kek as co-Spirits of Darkness.

Kek (Frog) One of the eight Primal Beings of the Ogdoad, being paired with Kauket as co-Spirits of Darkness.

Khenty-Imentiu (Wolf) A lesser war God, associated with Osiris in His battles, also seen as pilot of the Solar Boat.

Kheper (Scarab) An Aspect of Ra, the divinity responsible foir maintaining the sun’s course across the sky.

Khnum (Ram) Craftsman and especially potter among the Gods. He created life upon His potter’s wheel at the command of the Primal deities.

Khonsu (Human, sometimes Falcon) Moon God. Originally regarded as the child of Amon and Mut, in the Late Kingdom He is often referenced as the offspring of Sebek and Hathor. Aside from His strong lunar association, He was also a divinity invoked in exorcisms and in rites of healing.

Mafdet (Cat) Goddess of judicial authority and divine patroness of executions. She is normally shown bearing, or leaping up onto a gallows, and She is also spoken of as a functionary within the Hall of Two Truths. See also Bastet.

Ma’at (Human) Goddess of law, truth, and cosmic order. She personifies the scales in the Hall of Two Truths upon which Osiris weighs the heart of deceased souls for it’s burden of guilt. Every Pharoah was considered the “Beloved of Ma’at”, and in that sense She is the pillar around which orderly society can flourish.

Min (Human) The male divinity most closely concerned with sexuality and male virility. A son of Isis, He represents the vigour of each successive Pharoah. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, He is also a Patron of mines as well.

Montu (Hawk) A war God, originating in Upper Egypt, and synchretized with Ra to a strong degree.

Mut (Human sometimes Lion) Tutelary Goddess of Thebes and a parallel to Sakhmet. At times considered the consort of Amon-Ra and mother of Khonsu.

Naunet (Serpent) One of the eight Primal Beings of the Ogdoad, being paired with Nun as co-Spirits of Emptyness.

Nefertum (Lion) Regarded in Lower Egypt as the son of Buto, He is a lesser primordial being, and personifies the Blue Lotus of Ra.

Nehebukau (Serpent) A minor God of healing, specifically a protector against snakebite and scorpion sting.

Neith (Cow) A primordial Goddess, self-created and self-creating; in some tales She is the Tracer of the Nile’s course and the foundress of the city of Sais, established when She brought the Nile to the sea. She has many functions in addition; one of the most prevalent is that of Patroness of the Loom, and of spinning.

Nekhbet (Vulture) Tutelary Goddess of Upper Egypt, regarded as a protectress and ministrant to childbirth.

Nephthys (Nebhet) (Human)Youngest daughter of Geb and Nut, and often regarded as the consort of Seth. She is also sometimes considered the mother of Anubis. Her primary function is that of mortuary protectress, in which role She serves as guide to the spirits of deceased Pharoahs

Nun (Frog) One of the eight Primal Beings of the Ogdoad, being paired with Naunet as co-Spirits of Emptyness.

Nut (Human) An Aerial Goddess of sky and wind, daughter of Su and Tefnut, Sister and consort of Geb, mother of Osiris and Isis, Seth and Nephthys. She is the arching vault of the heavens, Her body sparkling with starlight. Through Her mouth the Sky-boat of the Sun passes each evening, from her vulva the it re-emerges and the day is reborn each morning. She retains some weatherworking functions; the thunder is Her voice. She is the special Patroness of the Pharoahs in their transition from Horus to Osiris.

The Ogdoad A collection of eight Primal Beings who emerged out of Chaos to define the universe and begin the flow of time. See Amaunet, Amon, Hauhet, Heh, Kauket, Kek, Naunet, and Nun.

Onuris (Anhuret) (Human) A warrior God with solar aspects, considered by some as an aspect of Ra, especially as an image of the active principal of solar power against enemies. He is also a patron of hunters and the chase.

Osiris (Ausar) (Human) Eldest child of Geb and Nut, posthumous father of Horus, Osiris is the most widely known and most deeply revered of the pantheon. He represents, first and foremost, the Path of Destiny, and the Life beyond life. He is the Judge of departed souls in the Hall of Two Truths, and He is the general guardian, guide, and ruler of the afterworld of departed spirits. The ancient Egyptians were obsessed with the problem of what occurs in the way of an afterlife and what the ultimate spiritual destiny of mankind is. Thus Osiris represents the promise of eternal life and the triumph of order and meaning over chaos. Defeated by his nemesis (and younger brother) Seth, He rises once again in an eternal cycle symbolized in the material world by the cyclical rising of the Nile and in the astral world by the passage of Amon-Ra, the holy sun and the cyclical appearances of Sothis, the star Sirius. Osiris is thus Friend, Saviour, and ultimate master of mankind. In Egyptian Royal tradition, as each Pharoah is the living incarnation of Horus in life, so in death they are transfigured into Osiris.

Ptah (Human) A primary creator divinity, Patron of Memphis and the focus of a powerful priesthood there. He is said to be self-creating and self-creative, bringing the Primal Chaos (in this version represented by Nun) into order and form by the sound of His voice. Additionally, He is patron to all the crafts and sciences, inspiring both practical invention and fine art. He is the consort of Sekhmet and presumably the father of Nefertum.

Ra (Hawk) One of the primary solar dieties, often (especially in later times) conflated with Amon to form the composite solar entity Amon-Ra. Ra is in essence the spirit of the sun in it’s glory and fullest strength, a noontide divinity embodying heat, light, and majesty. He was not especially popular, in that He represents the retributive and lightning swift blaze of power, striking down enemies with his gaze alone. The phrase, often encountered in Egyptian religious and magickal writings, “Eye of Ra”, represents His pitiless and omnipresent knowledge of all beneath the sun.

Sarapis (Human or Bull) A very late addition to the Egyptian pantheon, He emerged out of early Ptolomaic thought as a conflation of Osiris with Apis, representing the fertility of the land with the sanctity and promise of an immortal afterlife. His cult became a fixture during Roman times, and competed with both Mithraism and early Christianity for a predominant role in the Empire as a whole.

Satet (Human) Consort of Khnum and mother of Anukis, She was tutelary Goddess of the Nubian frontier, in the far south of Upper Egypt.

Sebek (Crocodile) Son of Neith, Consort of Hathor, father of Khonsu. He represents the power and strength of the Pharoahs, and is a Patron of all reptilian forms. He is occasionally conflated with Seth, and in rare instances is regarded as the Source and personification of Evil.

Sepa (Centipede) A minor protector divinity, called upon to defend against wild animals and evil spirits. He is also associated with the necropolis, and is regarded as a helper of Osiris and Anubis within the mortuary.

Seker (Hawk) A lord of Darkness and Shadow, and the divine essence of burial and decay. He is thus connected with an aspect of the cycle of rebirth.

Sekhmet (Lion) Daughter of Ra and consort of Ptah, She is a war goddess and a divine Aspect of the power and majesty of the Pharoah against vhis enemies.

Seshet (Human) Goddess of scribes, of writing, of history (and thus the orderly flow of time), and the special Patroness of libraries and archives. She is regarded as the foundress of temples and halls of worship, and She retains a considerable aura of magickal patronage, in that writing was a secret system of knowledge known only to an elite few. Not surprisingly, She is the consort of Thoth.

Seth (Composite Creature) Child of Geb and Nut, sibling of Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys. Seth is a complex figure who seems in the main to be adversarial in nature. The most typical mythologies have Him at war with his brother Osiris, a war in which He defeats Osiris but is in turn defeated by Osiris’ heir, Horus. Nevertheless, it needs to be pointed out that several times during the Pharoanic period in Egypt His cult was widespread and highly honoured, supplanting on occasion the identification of the Pharoah with Horus/Osiris. His beast imagery is also unusual, being composed of diverse elements culled from several sorts of creatures; the usual image is that of rather long-snouted, stiff-eared beast that vaguely reminds one of a wolf or aardvark.

Sia (Human) Divine Patron of sense perception. Child of Ra, He accompanies His father on the Sky Boat which bears the sun along it’s course.

Sothis (Sopdet) (Human) The star Sirius, which appears above the horizon at just the time of the summer inundation of the Nile. Thus, She is Herald and Harbinger of this most vital seasonal occurance.

Su (Human) Primordial divinity created by Atum or, in some mythologies Ptah. As Consort to His sister Tefnut, He is the ancestor of all the remaining Gods and Goddesses through their offspring Geb and Nut. He is an aerial divinity, and a lord of the sky.

Taurt (Hippopotamus) Goddess of childbirth and Protectress of womankind, a very commonly represented and popular divinity amonmg the ordinary folk of Egypt.

Tefnut (Lioness, sometimes the Uraeus Serpent) Primordial divinity created by Atum or, in some mythologies Ptah. As Consort to Her brother Su, She is ancestress of all the remaining Gods and Goddesses through their offspring Geb and Nut. Her primary Attribute is as Patroness of water.

Thoth (Djehuti) (Ibis) Tutelary divinity of knowledge and understanding. He is Patron to scribes, and protector of archives, as well as being the inspiration for all knowledge-based arts and sciences. He is said to have created writing for the use of mankind. Regarded as scrupulously honest, He is the scribe of the Hall of Two Truths, recording the deeds and accounts of each soul facing judgement, as well as taking a hand in judging. He has lunar associations, and is the Consort of Seshet.

In the ‘Great Hymn to Khnum’ from Khnum’s temple at Esna (pp. 111-115 in Lichtheim, vol. 3), Khnum’s work fashioning all the parts of the body in accord with their functions is carefully evoked. Here it is a matter of the formation, not of some individual or other, but of all the species of creatures. Next, the hymn proceeds to explain how Khnum has fashioned all the different peoples, each with their own language, as well as precious commodities for each region that they may trade. He is responsible, thus, for mineral abundance as well: “He opened seams in the bellies of mountains, he made the quarries spew out their stones,” (p. 114). Through his control over the produce which forms their offerings as well as the materials out of which their cult statues are fashioned, Khnum can be praised as having “engendered the Gods,” (ibid.). In a magical spell (no. 128 in Borghouts), Khnum is referred to as “image of an infinity of infinities [heh n hehu] … only son, the one who was conceived yesterday and who was born today … who has 77 eyes and 77 ears.” Reference is made sometimes to seven Khnums created by Khnum: “It is Khnum who made the seven Khnums, Builder of Builders who created what exists,” (Esna III, no. 378, 18); “Khnum who made the seven Khnums, who created the craftsmen, Builder of Builders,” (Esna V, no. 367, 14-15).

Epigravettian – the Kasovian

Industries from Middle Danube region dated after the Last Glacial Maximum (20-15 ka BP) were hitherto presented as a “mosaic” of derived Gravettian and Aurignacian features (Grubgraben, Stránská skála, Szágvár, Arka, Kasov – upper layer, Lipa; Svoboda et al. 1996; Valoch 1996, etc.). Actually, following a preliminary revision of the sites and redating of some of them (Moravany-Zakovská as the Upper Gravettian, Verpoorte 2002; Hranice as the Magdalenian), the techno/typological structure becomes more homogenous and we propose to unite the remaining industries into a distinct techno/typological unit (Svoboda & Novák 2004).

These sites form a network of scarcely distributed sites over the Middle Danubian region (fig. 2c). In terms of raw material exploitation and economy, there is more emphasis on local sources, and the sites located directly in vicinity of the outcrops display the character of primary workshops (Arka, Lipa). Contrary to the Gravettian based predominantly on lithic imports and producing long blades from the classical crested and prismatic cores, the Epigravettian blanks (flakes, shorter blades, microblades) are produced from short and cubical cores as well as from elongated blade cores. Typically, some of the microblades were made by pressure technique from wedge-shaped cores strongly recalling the North Asian parallels. Typologically, the groups of short endscrapers and burins predominate, but their quantitative relationship may be flexible at the individual sites. Both types are usually made on short blanks. Some of them are thick and some are polyhedric, thus recalling «Aurignacian» forms, but the quantity of these types is low. The backed implements, previously used as the key argument for continuity of the Gravettian tradition, are also present (cf. Arka, Lipa) but are in fact less frequent than was expected. In addition, the bone-and-antler industry, whenever preserved, shows parallels to the Magdalenian (“bâtons de commandement” at Grubgraben and Ságvár, needles at Grubgraben) rather than to the rich bone industry of the preceding Gravettian. Symbolic art is absent.

These techno/typological changes copy with radical changes in settlement strategy (preference for slopes and protected valleys), hunting techniques and strategies (termination of the mammoth exploitation and orientation on horse and reindeer herd hunting, West 1996). Thus, we argue that in the Middle Danube region, the Gravettian/Epigravettian continuity has been interrupted, most probably as a result of the Last Glacial Maximum.

A candidate could be the site of Kasov – upper layer (Bánesz et al. 1992). Even if we only have one 14 C date (18,6 ky BP), this site documents a simple but clear stratigraphy, and a rich but typologically standard and characteristic archaeological content. Hence, we proposed the term “Kasovian” for further discussion (Svoboda & Novák 2004). The term “Epigravettian”, sensu stricto, should be reserved for Mediterranean Europe, where the Gravettian typological tradition is clearly conserved and further developed (backed implements and microliths). In contrast, the typological characteristic of the Kasovian lies closer to the Badegoulian of the west of Europe, or to the other entities further to the east of the North Eurasia.

Kathryn Bard. 1994. The Egyptian Predynastic: A review of the evidence. Journal of Field Archaeology. Reproduced with the permission of the Trustees of Boston University and the Journal of Field Archaeology
In the 4th millenium B.C. two different Predynastic cultures, both of which practiced agriculture, evolved in Egypt: the Nagada culture in the south and the Maadi culture in the north. settlement sites of the latter are much better preserved, but in the south, where most of the archaeological evidence is from cemeteries, there is much greater evidence for the evolution of social hierarchies and complex societies. A review of the archaeological evidence for the Predynastic suggests that the early state had its cultural origins in the south, although the processes involved in the emergence of the state in Egypt can only be hypothesized at this time.


The Neolithic phenomenon, in which gathering and, later, hunting were gradually replaced by the cultivation of domesticated plants and animal husbandry, began in the ancient Near East perhaps as early as 10,000 years ago. the most recent hypothesis of Neolithic origins is that agriculture was first practiced in the southern Levant at late Natufian sites, and is only found later in other regions of the Near East (McCorriston and Hole 1991: 58). What is unusual about this and earlier models, however, is the still later development of the Neolithic in Egypt, where the transition to an agrarian way of life occurred only after ca. 5550 B.C. (Wenke 1989: 136).

One explanation of this is that the Nile was an area of such great resource concentration (Clark 1971: 74) that there was no need to cultivate cereals. Another explanation is that the preserved evidence for subsequent agriculture obscures processes and experiments in farming that were occurring millennia earlier (Butzer 1990: 112-113). Evidence of grinding stones at Late Paleolithic sites in Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia dating to the end of the Pleistocene (see Wendorf and Schild 1976, 1989: 792-793; Wendorf, Said, and Schild 1970) may be related to early experiments that might have led to farming. The archaeological evidence for the early Holocene, however, suggests a greater exploitation of riverine resources in the Nile Valley coinciding with greatly increased (and “wild”) Nile floods (Butzer 1982: 274).

Evidence of the earliest settlements in Egypt where agriculture was practiced is in the north (Fayum A and Merimda), where the domesticates are thought to have been introduced from SW Asia (Trigger 1983: 17); the Fayum A sites may represent one of the oldest Neolithic economies in Egypt, and one that was partially based on cereal cultivation (Wenke, Long, and Buck 1988: 48). There is no evidence in that area of villages that became increasingly complex, as in Upper Egypt, however; it is possible that aquatic resources were sufficiently concentrated in the Fayum that agricultural intensification was not required. in addition, the environment was not sufficiently productive for a sedentary agricultural economy (Wenke, Long, and Buck 1988: 48).

The spread of farming technology from north to south in the Nile Valley may possibly explain the early Neolithic sites in the north, and Hassan (1986b: 134) states that ca. 6500-6000 b.p. there were transmissions first from the Sinai westward and then southward, as perhaps reflected by the Badarian agricultural communities in Middle Egypt – agricultural communities possibly predating those of the Nagada culture in upper Egypt (Holmes 1989: 15). Evidence for farming communities in middle and Upper Egypt, however, may be biased in what is preserved and visible on the edge of the floodplain at the desert margins, while more dense occupation at the river banks is covered by deep alluvial deposits or modern villages, and is thus not excavatable. According to Butzer (1976: 14-15), “the great bulk of all Paleolithic materials” in Egypt comes from Nile sediments, having been derived from settlements situated next to the river, and the Predynastic sites that are located along the low desert may simply represent seasonal pastoral activity (but not major settlements).

There is also evidence in southern Egypt, in both the Nile Valley and the Western Desert, suggesting early experiments in domestication and agriculture (Wendorf and Schild 1980: 273-280). Hassan (1984b: 222, 1986a: 498-499) proposes that agriculture was introduced into the Nile Valley from the neighboring desert regions, and some questionable evidence of barley and wheat from Wadi Kubbaniya (Stemler and Falk 1980: 397-398; Wendorf and Schild 1984) may support such a view. A more recent study of the plant remains from Wadi Kubbaniya, however, has dismissed the claim that domesticated crops were already under cultivation in the Late Paleolithic (Hillman, Madeyska, and Hather 1989: 162-163). The mechanisms by which agriculture spread and was adapted by peoples living in the Nile Valley cannot be specified from present evidence, and diffusion of agriculture is not a very satisfactory explanation. But in the late 5th millennium B.C. there must have been a need in Egypt to adopt agriculture as part of the subsistence base, perhaps due to increasing populations of hunter-gatherers in the Nile Valley, and greater competition for resources in a mid-Holocene environment that was becoming more arid.

Recent studies suggest that in northern Egypt the Predynastic Maadi culture evolved from indigenous Neolithic cultures. According to Rizkana and Seeher (1987: 78), the Maadi culturerepresents a continuation of the Lower Egypt cultural tradition, which since Neolithic times at the earliest bore a strong character of its own, only distantly related to the cultures of Upper Egypt.

Sites with Maadi ceramics extend from Buto near the Mediterranean to south of Cairo, and in the Fayum region as far south as Sedment (Rizkana and Seeher 1987: 63). The full distribution of Maadi sites and their dates, however, have yet to be established.

In Upper Egypt the origins of the Predynastic Nagada culture are probably to be found among indigenous hunter-gatherers and fisherman living along the Nile. As arid conditions developed in the Eastern and Western Deserts ca. 6000-5000 B.C., cattle pastoralists (?) were increasingly forced into the Nile Valley where they eventually “merged” with indigenous groups (Hassan 1985a: 327). At the site of el-Tarif in western Thebes, in an earlier stratum than those of a Nagada culture settlement, were artifacts that have been identified as belonging to the Tarifian (Ginter and Kozlowski 1984: 257, 259), a very different culture with distinctive ceramics. According to the excavators, the Tarifian level at El-Tarif suggests a settlement more like Paleolithic camps (Ginter and Kozlowski 1984: 257), but possibly belonging to a transitional Epipaleolithic/Neolithic culture in Upper Egypt that evolved into the more complex Nagada culture as the economy became increasingly dependent on farming.

With the rise of the Nagada culture in Upper Egypt in the early 4th millennium B.C., simple farming communities evolved into more complex societies. Archaeological evidence, mainly from cemeteries, suggests a core area of the Nagada culture that extended from Abydos in the north to Hierakonpolis in the south; but Nagada sites also exist on the east bank in the Badari region and in the Fayum. Major centers developed at Abydos, Nagada, Hierakonpolis (Nekton), and possibly at Uh (Dispels Parka). In Lower Nub there are numerous A-Group burials which contain many Nagada craft goods probably obtained through trade, but the nature of Egyptian Predynastic/A-Group relations (see Nordstroom 1972: 24; smith 1991: 108; Trigger 1976: 33) is beyond the scope of the present study.

By ca. 3050 B.C. the Early Dynastic state had emerged in Egypt, controlling much of Nile Valley from the Delta to the First Cataract at Aswan. The beginning of the First Dynasty was only about 1000 years after the earliest farming villages appeared on the Nile, so the Predynastic period, during the 4th millennium B.C., was one of fairly rapid social and political evolution.

The reason why there is relatively little settlement evidence from Upper Egypt is probably due in part to earlier excavators’ priorities. Located on the low desert, Predynastic cemeteries with well preserved burials, some of which contained many grave goods in sometimes exotic materials, were simply of greater interest to excavate than settlements which had been disturbed by digging for sebbakh (organic remains used for fertlizer) or destroyed by expanding cultivation on the floodplain. Unless permanent architecture was detected, such as mud-brick walls excavated by Petrie at Nagada’s South Town, more ephemeral Predynastic settlements, which left mainly dense scatters of sherds, such as Petrie describes at Abadiyeh, were interpreted as having been destroyed (Petrie 1901a: 32). In any case, archaeologists did not have the excavation techniques to understand such site and their formation processes.

Only more recently has interest in Upper Egypt shifted to the detailed excavation of Predynastic settlements. But such settlements, located on spurs above the floodplain, are deflated, with little or no evidence of permanent architecture. Missing, or perhaps deposited under alluvium, are large (fortified?) sites on higher ground of the floodplain, such as Kemp (1989: 33) posits; an exception is Nekhen, probably founded on a Nile levee, as shown by coring and sondage in 1984 (Hoffman, Hamroush, and Allen 1986: 181). Because of alluviation, continuous cultivation, geological conditions in Upper Egypt, and the present dense occupation along the river we may never know much about settlement patterns except from sites preserved above the floodplain.

In northern Egypt, where Predynastic burials of the Maadi culture are relatively unspectacular, with only a few pots, or no burial goods at all, earlier excavations focused equally on settlements. But settlements in the north focused may also have been better preserved than in the south. Evidence at Maadi of rectangular buildings and subterranean structures suggests good preservation of architecture constructed mainly of wattle and matting (Rizkana and Seeher 1989: 75). Conditions for preservation of stratified remains in the Delta and its margins may be the best in Egypt, if reports of recent excavations there are correct (Chlodnicki, Fattovich, and Salvatori 1991; Eiwanger 1988; van den Brink 1988; von der Way 1987, 1988, 1989).


Dating of the Upper Egyptian (Nagadan) Predynastic has been based on a seriation system devised by Petrie and based on grave goods (1901a: 4-12) that he called Sequence Dating (S.D.). Petrie recognised three periods of the Predynastic: Amratian, Gerzean, and Semainean, the last being followed by the First Dynasty (Petrie 1939: 9). More recently, grave goods as well as settlement pottery have been placed in three (slightly different) periods, Nagada I, II, and III, using a modification of Petrie’s system devised by Kaiser (1956, 1957). Other revisions of Petrie’s Sequence Dating, cased on ceramics, include a typological one by Federn (Needler 1984: 69), and one by Kemp (1982) using a multidimensional scaling program at the university of Cambridge. Recently Payne (1990, 1992) has published a new chronology of “Decorated Ware” pots from Nagada. Since Petrie’s initial work, the Predynastic has continued to be mainly defined in periods formed by a seriation of grave goods (see Arkell and Ucko 1965: 150-155; Trigger 1968: 62-67).

Petrie’s Sequence Dating was based primarily on the seriation of Nagada “classes” of pottery in burials (see Adams 1988: 20-30; Midant-Reynes 1992: 240-242). These “classes” of pottery are not true wares, a term not used in Petrie’s time, but represent his typological divisions of different types or classes of Predynastic pottery. The earliest Nagada types were the black-topped Red class and the White Cross-lined class (see Adams 1988: fig. 7). Two new classes were introduced in the Gerzean period: a Wavy-handled class, and a Decorated class; the Black-topped Red class was less frequently made as the Rough (straw-tempered) class became most common (see Adams 1988: figs. 10,13). In the Semainean period the Late class replaced some of the earlier classes (see Adams 1988: fig. 15). Maadi sites have different wares (see below).

Although many Predynastic sites were excavated long before the advent of radiocarbon dating, some results from recent excavations in the Nagada region are available. Hassan (1984a: 683) concludes that dates from three early Nagada sites provide a midpoint estimate of 3760 +/- 40 B.C., and dates of the Nagada II zone of south Town provide a range of 3600-3300 B.C. A calibrated radiocarbon date from a Nagada III tomb at Hierakonpolis of 3025 +/- 80 B.C. (WIS-1180) has been published by Hoffman (1982: 42). Chronologies based on king lists place the beginning of the First dynasty at ca. 3050 B.C.


Study of the Predynastic began with Petrie’s excavation of the Nagada cemeteries in 1894-1895. In one field season he and Quibell excavated two settlements as well as about 3000 Predynastic burials in three areas: Cemeteries B and T, and the “Great New Race” cemetery (Petrie and Quibell 1896:9). Even though these excavations were carried out rapidly by modern standards, they were conducted by local workmen under the supervision of specialists from the town of Qift who were trained by Petrie, an usual practice for the time. Since his excavations for the Egypt Research Account were supported in part by contributions from museums, artifacts from Predynastic burials were shipped to subscribing institutions, which would have had much less interest in collections of fragmented artifacts obtained from the excavation of settlements.

Petrie at least recorded data from individual burials at Nagada in his field notebooks, which were later published by Baumgartel (1970). In Petrie’s publications, however, specific details were given for only the more interesting burials, such as ones with unusual artifacts, or large quantities of grave goods. Most of the Predynastic burials were simply not published. Jacques de Morgan’s fieldwork at Nagada in 1897 concentrated on the excavation of the niched mud-brick “Royal Tomb” (early First dynasty); the small graves which surrounded it were virtually ignored. It is likely, too, that few such excavations had workmen as carefully trained as Petrie’s.

Since cemeteries in Egypt, both Predynastic and Dynastic, are located in the low desert above the floodplain, unlike the location of many early settlements, the cemetery evidence has been much better preserved, and therefore was of much more interest to excavators. Hence, much of Egyptian archaeology has been concerned with the clearance, recording, and conservation of tombs and mortuary monuments, and their artifacts, as well as stone temples located beyond the floodplain. Many of the early scholars who worked in Egypt were philologists whose interests lay in recording texts, or who were trained in fine arts and were attracted to the great art and monumental architecture of pharaonic Egypt. Unequivocally, Petrie can be considered the first archaeologist working in Egypt: he developed specific methods for excavating and was concerned with recording the context and period of the excavated materials. Not only was his Sequence Dating system a major contribution to archaeological method, but at the time it represented a way of thinking about artifacts other than simply as art objects.

It is fortunate, too, that Predynastic cemeteries were excavated by Petrie earlier in the century, however rapidly and inadequately: at least there is some record of excavated burials. Given the booming tourist industry in Egypt and the market demand for antiquities in the latter part of the 20th century, any remaining large Predynastic cemeteries probably have been looted by now. Cemetery data, such as Petrie’s from Nagada, have been useful for studying the rise of hierarchical society in Egypt (Bard 1989a), as well as for interpretations of symbolic systems (Bard 1992).

While Petrie certainly had an influence on other English archaeologists working in Egypt in the early 20th century, such as Guy Bunton, Gertrude Caton Thompson, Reginald Engelbach, and Frederick W. Green, Egyptology continued to be dominated by philologists, historians, and art historians interested in the monuments, art, and inscriptions of pharaonic civilization. It was not until the Nubian salvage campaign in the 1960s that anthropologically trained archaeologists began to work in southern Egypt. More recently such research has concentrated on the settlement archaeology of prehistoric periods, within a regional framework. Research, such as Hassan’s in the Nagada region and Hoffman’s long-term project at Hierakonpolis, has focused less on the mortuary evidence, as Petrie did, and more on subsistence strategies in the transition from early farming communities to the formation of a state. Ecological paradigms have been suggested (Hassan 1988: 165-166) and settlement data have been interpreted in terms of socio-political evolution (Hoffman, Hamroush, and Allen 1986: 178-185).

Missing in the Predynastic evidence, however, are settlement patterns and changes in these through time. Unlike much of southern Mesopotamia, which is now sparsely populated, in part because of soil depletion in earlier periods (Adams and Nissen 1972: 1), the Egyptian Nile Valley is one of the world’s most densely populated regions, and has been intensively cultivated for 5000 years. The Nile river has shifted eastward since Predynastic times (Butzer 1976: 34-35), with consequences for the preservation of sites on both banks. Modern development and settlements in Egypt also have greatly limited survey and excavation of earlier settlements. Given that there are so few Predynastic settlement data, factors of population increase and population pressure have only been hypothesized. There are relatively few data on subsistence during the Predynastic, except from recent fieldwork, and it is unknown when, why, and where agricultural intensification (via irrigation) occurred.

Although there is important evidence at Hierakonpolis, Predynastic craft production and distribution are mostly know indirectly – from grave goods – as are various technologies (pottery production, metal working, stone carving, and glazing and faience). There is little archaeological evidence to demonstrate the rise of political elites, regional integration, and the formation of the earliest state(s). Likewise, the process of unification leading to the Early Dynastic state is uncertain, and the role of warfare in this is only suggested by scenes that appear on late Predynastic palettes.



One of the earliest archaeological surveys in southern Egypt was conducted by Henri de Morgan for the Brooklyn Museum in 1906-1907 and 1907-1908. While surveying between Gebel es Silsila (65km north of Aswan) and Esna, de Morgan excavated seven sites with Predynastic (Nagada I, II, and III) and Early Dynastic remains, including settlements as well as cemeteries; 14 additional sites of the Nagada culture in this region were reported by him (Needler 1984: 49). Recent investigations at one of de Morgan’s sites, Adaima, suggest a site occupied mainly during the Nagada II period and abandoned by the beginning of the Early Dynastic period (Midant-Reynes et al. 1991: 233).

From Needler’s (1984) catalogue of de Morgan’s finds, now in the Brooklyn museum, a picture of extensive Predynastic occupation in southern Egypt emerges. According to Needler (1984: 68), the nuclear region of the Nagada culture extended further south to Hierakonpolis, which was certainly not a marginal settlement.


J. E. Quibell and F. W. Green preceded de Morgan at Hierakonpolis (Nekhen) in 1897-1899, and John Garstang worked there in 1905-1906. Quibell and Green’s excavations concentrated on the remains of the walled town in the floodplain, with its walled temple precinct of Tuthmosis III in the southern corner (Quibell and Green 1902: pl. 73). Within the temple area, Quibell found what he termed the “Main Deposit”, which included the maceheads of kings Scorpion and Narmer, and other artifacts stylistically dating to the late Predynastic/Early Dynastic periods (Quibell and Green 1902: 40-41); see also Adams 1974a). Stratigraphy for the Main Deposit was not recorded in much detail, and it is difficult to determine its exact context.

A large, elaborately niched, mudbrick structure SW of the Kom el Ahmar, possibly built in the Second Dynasty during the reign of Kasekhemuwy, was also surveyed by Somers Clarke. Within and beneath the walls of the “Fort”, Garstang excavated numerous Predynastic graves (Garstang 1907: 136-137), which Kemp dates mainly to Nagada III, though there were also some Nagada II burials (Kemp 1963: 28; see also Adams and Hoffman 1987: 180-186). Other Predynastic graves in this cemetery NE of the Fort were excavated by de Morgan (Needler 1984: 110).

The other major Predynastic cemetery at Hierakonpolis is in the area of the Decorated Tomb, on the edge of the Dune Wadi, south of the Predynastic town, excavated by Green (Quibell and Green 1902: 20-21). Consisting of a mudbrick-lined pit with painted plaster walls, the tomb dates to the Nagada II period (Case and Payne 1962: 10; Payne 1973: 31). Green’s papers at the University of Cambridge indicate that this was in a small Predynastic cemetery (Adams 1974b: 84-111; Payne 1973: 31). Sequence dates of pottery from this cemetery are distributed throughout the Nagada II period, and Kaiser (1958: 189-191) has suggested that the graves surrounding the Decorated Tomb formed a royal cemetery. At least five of these graves were large rectangular ones (Adams 1974b).

More recently Hierakonpolis has been the site of extensive archaeological investigations by Walter Fairevis and Michael Hoffman. With over 50 Predynastic occupation, industrial, and burial sites (Hoffman 1982: 123-127), Hierakonpolis and its environs comprised a major Predynastic center. According to Hoffman’s model (Hoffman, Hamroush, and Allen 1986: 178-185), Predynastic occupation at Hierakonpolis was early-beginning in the Badarian and Nagada Ia-b periods, ca. 4000-3800/3700 B.C., with small scattered farming villages. The Nagada Ic to Ia (ca. 3800-3700-3500/3400 B.C.) was one of regional expansion. Rectangular houses were found in agglomerated settlements, and Hierakonpolis was becoming a center of pottery production. In later Nagada II (b-d) times, ca. 3500/3400-3200 B.C., there was a settlement shift from the desert to the edge of areas under cultivation. Basin irrigation may have begun at this time. A large oval courtyard may be the earliest evidence for a Nagada II temple complex. The Nagada III period, ca. 3200-3100 B.C., was a time of political unification, when floods were low and most desert sites were abandoned. The city of Nekhen continued to grow, with “large palace and temple complexes” (Hoffman, Hamroush, and Allen 1986: 184).

The well-preserved settlements at Hierakonpolis are remarkable for Upper Egypt. Both circular and rectangular houses have been excavated, some with fences and outbuildings (Hoffman 1982: 137). A rectangular, semi-subterranean house with postholes representing roof supports was excavated at Locality 29 (Hoffman 1980: 130). Elsewhere, beneath the Early Dynastic levels, about 4m of stratified Predynastic settlement deposits have been found by coring and auguring (Hoffman 1989: 320). Stratified cultural deposits have also been found via coring under the modern floodplain.

Evidence of specialized production, including the production of basalt and diorite vases and microlithic drill bits for bead-making, is also seen in the Nagada II ritual complex at Hierakonpolis (Hoffman 1982: 130). Pottery kilns have been excavated in the low desert where utilitarian (straw-tempered) wares and Plum Red ware (black-topped Red class and Polished Red class) were fired (Hoffman, Hamroush, and Allen 1986: 183). Vats from two sites at Hierakonpolis suggest the brewing of a wheat-based beer (Geller 1989: 52, 1992: 21-23).

Nine more cemetery areas, dating from Nagada I through Nagada III, have also been located elsewhere in the Hierakonpolis region, and Adams and Hoffman (1987: 196, 198) estimate there were several thousand Predynastic graves in the region. One cemetery area (Locality 6), located 2.5km up the Great Wadi, contained more than 2000 Nagada I-II burials, and large Nagada “Protodynastic” tombs, up to 22.75 sq m. in floor area (Adams and Hoffman 1987: 196, 202). Burials of elephants, hippopotami, crocodiles, baboons, cattle, sheep, goats, and dogs have also been excavated SW of a stone-cut tomb in the western part of this cemetery (Hoffman 1983: 50). One of the largest tombs, tomb 11, though looted, retained fragments of beads in carnelian, garnet, turquoise, faience, gold, and silver. Also in this tomb were artifacts carved in lapis lazuli and ivory, obsidian and crystal blades, “Protodynastic” pottery, and a wooden bed with carved bulls’ feet (Adams and Hoffman 1987: 178). Evidence of postholes demonstrates that superstructures once covered some of the large tombs in Locality 6, and these tombs were surrounded by fences (Hoffman 1983: 49). Possibly a kind of perishable structure was built over some of the tombs, similar to the house structures Hoffman excavated. If so, then this may be the earliest association of large elite tombs with a superstructure that symbolized a house/shrine for the deceased. Hoffman (1983: 49) states that the Locality 6 tombs belonged to the Protodynastic rulers of Hierakonpolis, and speculates that the largest tomb there was that of King Scorpion. Hence, the Locality 6 tombs suggest that in the Nagada III period at Hierakonpolis there was a new location for the highest status burials, replacing the earlier elite cemetery where the Decorated Tomb (Nagada II) was located.

As the Locality 6 cemetery is only partially excavated, it is not known yet if the perceived Nagada IIb-IId “gap” here is genuine (Barbara Adams, personal communication, 1992; see also Adams and Friedman 1992: 328-338).


Across the river from Hierankonpolis on the east bank is the site of el Kab where a cemetery with “New Race” (i.e., Predynastic) graves was excavated in 1897 by Quibell (1898), along with cemeteries of Dynastic date. More recently Predynastic burials have been excavated by Hendrickx within the Great Enclosure (built in the 1st millennium B.C.) at El Kab. Only 25 of these burials were undisturbed, and grave goods from them can be dated typologically to the Nagada III period (Hendrickx 1984: 225). two types of graves are found in this cemetery: most were simple pits, but some were lined with slabs of unworked sandstone, and niches for grave goods were separated from the human remains by a sandstone slab (Hendrickx 1984: 226). The graves with slabs were those of old adult males, with the exception of the richest burial in the cemetery, a young adult male (Hendrickx 1984: 228), indicating age/sex and possibly rank differentiation.

Downriver from El Kab and Hierakonpolis, on the west bank 9km SW of Luxor, is the Predynastic site of Armant. Myers excavated a Predynastic village in are 1000 (Mond and Myers 1937: 163), 2 km from Predynastic Cemetery 1400-1500, with graves ranging in age from Nagada Ic to IIIa. A few scattered Predynastic graves were also found in Areas 1200 and 1300, and two large, brick-lined tombs (1207, 1208_ dating to Nagada IIIb, were excavated in Area 1200.

A Predynastic settlement (MA 21/83) near Cemetery 1400-1500 was recently excavated by Ginter, Kozlowski, and Pawlikowski (1987: 52-66). Various features were uncovered during these excavations: postholes for a rectangular structure, a series of pits (for ovens, storage, and unknown purposes), hearths, and circular structures built of large limestone slabs (Ginter, Kozlowski, and Pawlikowski 1987: 59-61). Most of the ceramics at this site were of the straw-tempered (Rough) class (Ginter, Kozlowski, and Pawlikowski 1987: 61, 65)

In conjunction with the excavation of site MA 21/83, an archaeological survey was conducted between western Thebes and Armant. Signs of dense Predynastic occupation were found in this region, and 11 “Nagadian” sites were located. these sites were greatly deflated, and consisted mainly of lithics and ceramics, and occasionally hearths. Lithics show parallels with those from Armant published by Mond and Myers (1937: 201-232) and with those from El Khattara sites in the Nagada region. Ceramics are of Predynastic types (excluding any decorated classes), but have a paucity of forms compared to those found in Predynastic graves (Ginter, Kozlowski, and Pawlikowski 1985: 30-40).

While Thebes/Karnak was a major cultural center during pharaonic times, prehistoric sites there are less well known. At El Tarif, located on gravel deposits at the foot of the Theban gebel (the limestone cliffs at the edge of the Nile Valley), are Epipaleolithic stone tools in association with ceramics (see above), as well as later “Nagadian” levels, with Predynastic ceramics, lithics (particularly sickle blades), and traces of stone structures (Ginter and Kozlowski 1984: 256-259). A calibrated radiocarbon date (3105 +/- 60 B.C. [Gd-689]) was obtained from the Nagadian level, and above this level was an “Archaic” (Early dynastic?) level dated to 2665 +/- 55 B.C. (Gd-1127) (Ginter and Kozlowski 1984: 255).


Located 28 km NW of Luxor, on the west bank, the three Predynastic cemeteries at Nagada (“Great New Race Cemetery,” and Cemeteries B and T) were excavated by Petrie in 1894-95. With over 2200 graves, the three Nagada cemeteries, along with the estimated 1000 burials excavated by Quibell at Ballas, just north of Nagada, form the largest mortuary area in Predynastic Egypt. Two Predynastic settlements, “north Town” and “South Town,” were also investigated in this region. Layers of occupation at North Town were very thin, and some flexed burials of children were excavated there (Petrie and Quibell 1896: 2). In the northern part of South Town Petrie found the remains of a thick mudbrick wall, which appeared to be a “fortification with divisions in it” (Petrie and Quibell 1896: 54). Test excavations conducted in 1979-1983 at south Town by the Oriental Institute of Naples revealed Predynastic, Early Dynastic, and later Dynastic occupations based on a ceramic chronology. Features consisting of postholes, notches, and grooves cut in the sediment, piles of mudbrick from collapsed walls, and a rounded ditch to the north of the site were identified (Barocas, Fattovich, and Tosi 1989: 300-301).

The small Cemetery T that Petrie excavated at Nagada has been considered the burial place of Predynastic chieftains (Case and Payne 1962: 15), or kings (Kemp 1973: 42). Burials in this cemetery date to Nagada II and III (Davis 1983: 21-24; Bard 1989a: 240). One pit contained bones of about 20 dogs (Petrie and Quibell 1896: 26). Three brick-lined tombs (T15, T29, T23) were excavated by Petrie in this cemetery, and one undisturbed grave, T5, contained 42 pots and a number of sumptuary grave goods, in gold foil, lapis lazuli, carnelian, garnet, and glazed steatite (Baumgartel 1970: 67). Some human bones were found together around the sides of the tomb, and a “mass of bones” lay together in a heap about 2ft (61cm) in diameter in the center of the tomb (Petrie and Quibell 1896: 32); there wee also six crania.

Before Petrie was at Nagada, Jacques de Morgan excavated two “royal” tombs there and a necropolis for “common people” with tombs containing Early Dynastic grave goods (de Morgan 1897: 159).The one well-preserved “royal” tomb, with an elaborate niched mud-brick superstructure, was thought to belong to King Aha, dating to the beginning of the First dynasty; mud sealings with his name were found in it (de Morgan 1897: 164-168). The two royal tombs and the necropolis are located about 6.8km south of the main Predynastic cemetery at Nagada (Fekri Hassan, personal communication, 1985).

While Petrie’s excavations at Nagada were extensive, Hassan has located and excavated a number of smaller Predynastic sites in the Nagada region near the village of El Khattara. Full excavation reports are forthcoming, but Hays (1976: 552) reports previously unknown Predynastic sites consisting of several mounds of midden deposits. Remains of domesticated sheep/goats, cattle, and pigs were present, and emmer wheat and barley were cultivated (Hassan et al. 1980: 29). On the basis of the lithics and ceramic assemblages, Hays attributes the El Khattara sites to the Badarian period (Hays 1984: 72). Hassan and Matson’s (1989: 314) multidimensional scaling of ceramics from Predynastic settlements in the Nagada region, however, indicate an early Nagada group at the El Khatara sites, and a later Nagada II group at South Town and North Town.

The El Khattara sites are located in a linear pattern west of the floodplain. sites are spaced about 2km apart (Fekri Hassan, personal communication, 1985). Although there is no evidence of permanent architecture in mudbrick or with stone foundations, domestic features, such as small mud-lined pits, hearths, whole pots, and small wooden posts, have been excavated. At site KH3 lighter-colored, sandy deposits of habitation areas have been differentiated from darker deposits containing dung where animals were penned. An infant burial was excavated in one household unit at KH3 (Holmes 1989: 191-194).


Predynastic evidence is known in the Qift (Coptos) region, on the river opposite Nagada, and in the Wadi Hammamat. A Predynastic village and graves were identified by Fernand Debono near Lakeita, 33km SE of Qift, during a survey along the Wadi Hammamat (Debono 1951: 88). Debono also found some Early Dynastic villages in this region but his report is not very detailed. In 1988, Henry Wright visited the region, which is still covered with land mines following the 1967 war, and further investigations were not possible (Henry Wright, personal communication, 1989).

Predynastic evidence is also known from Petrie’s excavations of the temple of Isis and Min at Qift. Fragments of coarse ceramic figurines of humans and animals were found in a deposit 4ft (1.2m) deep beneath the temple pavement, but these are probably Old Kingdom (Adams 1986: 9). Also in the deposit were Predynastic potsherds: “red polished with black tops, and the red polished with white lines” (Petrie 1896: 5). The three large stone figures of the deity Min, which Petrie also excavated there, are no later than the early First Dynasty (Kemp 1989: 79-82), or from the reign of Narmer (end of Dynasty 0, immediately preceding the beginning of the First Dynasty) (Williams 1988: 36-37), but there clearly was an earlier feature at Qift. Neolithic stone tools, maceheads, and sherds of Predynastic/Early Dynastic date, now in the Petrie collection, University College London, were found in the temple (Barbara Adams, personal communication, 1992).


About 10km south of Qena on the west bank, a Predynastic settlement called Maghara 2 has recently been excavated by Leuven University. the site is situated on the low desert about 500m from the river. Features consisted of postholes (which could not be reconstructed into arrangements as houses), storage pits, and more than 20 hearths. No remains of grain were found in the storage pits, and only one grindstone was found. As the floodplain is very narrow here, “agriculture must be excluded” (Hendrickx 1988: 10). The fauna consisted mainly of fish remains, mostly Nile perch and catfish (Hendrickx 1988: 9), suggesting that the site was a fishing camp. Pottery comprises mainly the Straw-tempered class, but the Black-topped Red class and a Ripple-face class, associated with the earliest known Predynastic sites (“Badarian”) in Middle Egypt, were also found. One ceramic lip-stud excavated at Maghara 2 is also of a Badarian style, and a calibrated date of 4130-3665 B.C. (Lv-1312) suggests an early occupation here ca. 4000 B.C. (Hendrickx 1988: 9).

About 45km NW of Nagada, below the Qena bend of the Nile, a major Predynastic center was located at Hu, known as Diospolis Parva in Graeco-Roman times. In 1898-1899, Petrie excavated six “prehistoric” cemeteries (U, R, B, C, A, H) in the Hu region, and he noted the remains of prehistoric villages east of the Dynastic cemetery, N, and in the area he called F (Petrie 1901a: 31-32). The most significant contribution of Petrie’s publication of the Hu cemeteries is the seriation system (Sequence Dating) he worked out for the grave goods in accordance with his finds from other Predynastic cemeteries.

During a reconnaissance survey in 1989 Bard (1989b: 476) rediscovered a Predynastic settlement (HG) near the modern village of Abadiyeh with Predynastic sherds, but no visible architecture, scattered over an area of more than 3ha. Petrie (1901a: 32) had recorded this site as “entirely plundered”.

Another smaller settlement (SH) was located by Bard next to the late Predynastic cemetery at Semaineh. this had thin cultural deposits and no visible architecture except a mud-brick feature, which probably dates to the Old Kingdom. Excavations at SH in 1991 revealed a site with a great mixture of ceramics, predominantly from the Old Kingdom, but mixed with a few Predynastic and New Kingdom sherds. One radiocarbon date was obtained from charcoal in a test pit, with a calibrated date of 3780-3530 B.C. (OxA-2184) (Bard 1991: 130).

Also in the Hu region, about 5km SW of Nag Hammadi, is a Predynastic cemetery of unknown size at Abu ‘Umuri, excavated in 1936 by M. Hamza. Grave goods from this cemetery are now in Room 53 of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, but the Egyptian Antiquities Organization has no records from the excavation.


The Predynastic 7000 cemetery at Naga ed-Der, on the eats bank opposite Girga, was excavated in 1903-1904, when George Reisner held a concession to work in this region. In 1910, excavations were resumed in the region by the Boston-Harvard Expedition. Unpublished results from this fieldwork include a cemetery at Mesaeed (south of Naga ed-Der) excavated by Reisner and Fischer, and later by L.C. West, with graves ranging in date from Nagada I through the First Dynasty, but mainly of Nagada II date (Ehrlich n.d.; Friedman 1981). At Naga el-Hai, south of Qena, a large Predynastic cemetery with ca. 1450 graves was excavated in 1913 by West; Freed (n.d.: 41) states that only 172 of these graves were datable (mainly Nagada III and Nagada IIc-d) because the cemetery had been heavily plundered.

The Predynastic cemetery at Naga ed-Der was published by Dunham using Lythgoe’s field notes (Lythgoe and Dunham 1965: ix), but no reference is made to nay settlement near it. The cemetery measured approximately 90m x 80m, and there were over 600 burials (Lythgoe and Dunham 1965: insert plan). Castillos’ analysis of this cemetery suggests that it was of “less prosperity” than other Predynastic cemeteries in his study (Castillos 1979: 36). At least one high status burial – Grave 7304 – is from this cemetery, however. This large grave was originally roofed, and though disturbed, contained 42 objects, including 5 stone vessels, 8 pots, beads of turquoise and lapis Lazuli, and a seal with a Jemdet Nasr-style design (Kantor 1952: 240, 246).


Abydos, a major center of Predynastic culture in Upper Egypt, and better known for its Early Dynastic remains excavated by Petrie early in this century, has been investigated more recently by Kaiser and Dreyer, and O’Connor. A study of settlements in the region, dating from the Predynastic through the Old Kingdom, has been conducted by Patch (1984: 17), who located seven new Predynastic sites during an archaeological survey in 1982-1983. Patch’s investigations show a change in settlement patterns through time, with some nucleation within the region by the end of the Nagada II period (Patch 1991: 307).

Predynastic cemeteries recorded in the Abydos region are in three areas: one near the Osiris temple, the others near the villages of El Amra and El Mahasna. Cemetery E, 300m north of the Osiris temple, was excavated in 1909-1910 by Naville and Peet, and contained Predynastic graves along with pharaonic and Roman shaft tombs (Naville 1914: 1).

In 1901, Randall-MacIver and Mace excavated (or estimated the presence of) more than 1000 Predynastic and Early dynastic burials near the village of El Amra, from which the term Amration ( = Nagada I) is derived. About 8.9km SE of the First Dynasty royal cemetery at Abydos are two Predynastic cemeteries A and B, which had both been heavily plundered (Randall MacIver and Mace 1902: 50). Cemetery B seems to have had more later Predynastic graves than Cemetery A, as well as some from the First Dynasty. Two other Predynastic cemeteries at Abydos were also noted by the excavators: Cemetery O, S.D. 30-50 (early and middle Predynastic), and Cemetery X, S.D. 60-80 (late Predynastic; Randall-MacIver and Mace 1902: 53-55). The El Amra excavations yielded a unique clay model of a rectangular Predynastic house (Randall-MacIver and Mace 1902: 42).

Also in the Abydos region is the Predynastic cemetery at El Mahasna, 1.3km north of Abydos. Although many of the burials had been disturbed, the remainder range in date from early to late Predynastic, and there are some brick-lined tombs of the early First Dynasty. Some of the later, more rectangular graves were roofed or lined with wood or mud-brick (Ayrton and Loat 1911: 3-8).

In addition to burials, eight Predynastic kilns, which the excavators thought were for parching grain, were excavated in the Cemetery D area of the Osiris temple (Peet and Loat 1913: 1-7). The kilns consisted of two parallel rows of large jars of Rough class sunk into the ground and containing carbonized organic matter; Geller (1989: 47), as noted previously, has evidence from Hierakonpolis that such facilities were for brewing. Predynastic sherds were also found in the Osiris temple by Petrie (1902: pl. 50).

The Umm el-Qa-ab at Abydos is where the kings of the First Dynasty built there tombs and “funerary palaces”, walled constructions located along the edge of the cultivation. To the NE of the identified First Dynasty royal tombs are smaller and less elaborate tombs (B group) excavated by Petrie (1901b: 3-5), which have been more recently investigated by Kaiser and Dreyer. Several of these tombs have been identified as belonging to kings immediately preceding, or belonging to the beginning of, the First Dynasty (Iri-Hor, Ka, Narmer, Aha) (Kaiser and Dreyer 1982: 241-242). A tomb (U-j) dating to Nagada IIIa2 has also been excavated on the Umm el-Qa’ab, with over 400 pots imported from Canaan (Dreyer 1992: 297). Many bone labels with the earliest known hieroglyphs, probably connected with the delivery of goods, were also found in Tomb U-j (Kaiser 1990: 298-299). At Abyos, then, there is evidence of a royal cemetery dating to the end of the Predynastic (Nagada IIIa-c), possibly of kings whose descendants reigned in the First Dynasty.



In Middle Egypt, Predynastic sites are found in the Badari district, on the east bank of the Nile opposite, and to the south of, Assuit. The earliest class of pottery (“Badarian”, a black-topped brown ware with a rippled surface created by pebble burnishing) from prehistoric settlements and cemeteries in this region is thought to be earlier than Petrie’s Predynastic classes from Upper Egypt, a chronology demonstrated by Caton Thompson’s excavation of the stratified midden at Hemamieh (Brunton and Caton Thompson 1928: 73-75). Brunton also thought that the graves he excavated at Deir Tasa, yielding stone celts and black incised pottery, represent an early phase of the Badarian (Brunton 1937: 32).

At El Badari, the remains of Predynastic settlements were located on Spurs 2-12, with cemeteries occurring on Spurs 14-19. The small settlement on the north spur at Hemamieh was only 40 x 50 yds (37 x 46m) n area, with some hut (and/or storage) circles, and a midden 6.5ft (2m) deep (Brunton and Caton Thompson 1928: 69-79).

At Mostagedda, Brunton excavated several small Predynastic villages consisting of hut circles and middens. Cemeteries range in date from the Badarian and Predynastic to Dynastic and Pan-grave (Second Intermediate Period, following the Middle Kingdom; Brunton 1937: 3-4). North of Mostagedda at Matmar more Predynastic graves were excavated, mainly in Cemetery 2600-2700. Scattered in different areas at Matmar were graves with Sequence Dates of 74-81 (late Predynastic, early Dynastic; Brunton 1948: pl. 8-10, 20).

A recent archaeological survey in the Badari district by Holmes and Friedman has led to the discovery of two Predynastic sites (BD-1 and BD-2), and they noted another at Minshat El Kom El Ahmar; the last cemetery was excavated, but not published, by the Egyptian Antiquities Organization. The investigators report that very few surveyed Predynastic localities had any finds dating exclusively to the Amatrian period (Nagada I) (Holmes and Friedman 1989: 17). This suggests that in the Badari district, the “Badarian” is not a cultural period which entirely preceded the Amratian, but perhaps one that chronologically overlaps the Amatrian known farther south (Holmes and Friedman 1989: 18).

Archaeological evidence in the Badari district is mainly of small settlements, scattered along spurs from Matmar in the north to Qau el Kebir in the south. None of these sites represents Predynastic culture on the scale of that seen at several other major sites in Upper Egypt.


North of the Badari district, no Predynastic sites are known south of the Fayum region, over 300km farther downriver (Middle Egypt is the least archaeologically surveyed area in the Egyptian Nile Valley, which may in part account for the lack of evidence, but it is also possible that early sites are less well preserved there). Although the major Predynastic sites are found in upper Egypt, it would be surprising if such settlement suddenly stopped at El Badari. While the Fayum is better known for Neolithic sites on the strandlines representing earlier lake levels, Caton Thompson and Gardner (1934: 69-71) excavated a Predynastic site near Qasr Qarun in the SW Fayum. More recently this site was investigated by Wenke, who located two other Predynastic sites to the east. The three sites appear to be “only temporary, seasonally occupied encampments” (Wenke et al 1983: 39). Although the ceramics were badly eroded, sherds from one of these sites (FS-3) “are similar to unpolished Red-ware ceramics found at Maadi and nearby sites” (Robert Wenke and Douglas Brewer, personal communication, 1991; see also Wenke and Brewer 1992: 175). Samples of charcoal from hearths obtained in the northern Fayum by the Institute of Archaeology, Jagiellonian University, have yielded (uncalibrated) radiocarbon dates of “the times directly preceding the so-called archaic [Early Dynastic] period” (Dagnon-Ginter et al. 1984: 65).

The best known Predynastic site in the Fayum region is the cemetery at Gerza, from which the term Gerzean (Nagada II) is derived. The site is located on the west bank, about 7 km NE of Medum. compared to the major cemeteries in Upper Egypt this was a small cemetery, with only 288 burials, a high percentage of them undisturbed; 198 of these were of adults and 51 were of infants or children (Petrie, Wainwright and MacKay 1912: 5). The ceramics listed for these burials are typical of the Nagada II period and include the Wavy-handled and Decorated classes. Beads, stone vases, zoomorphic slate palettes, flint knives, and other Nagada II artifacts, some of which were elite goods probably imported from the south, were also found in these graves. (No mention is made by Petrie of a Predynastic settlement at Gerza)

At Abusir El-Meleq, about 10km west f the present Nile, several hundred Predynastic burials were excavated by Moller (Scharff 1926). The graves range from Nagada II to III, and early First Dynasty. this seems to have been one of the larger Predynastic cemeteries in the north.

Harageh, SE of the village of Lahun, was excavated in 1913-1914 by Reginald Engelbach, and consists of two Predynastic cemeteries, G and H. Engelbach (1923: 2) places the date for both cemeteries between S.D. 50-60, based on the pottery in the burials, which includes the Decorated class. Many of the graves were robbed, and there were no slate palettes and very few beads. Wavy-handled class pottery was found only in Cemetery H (Engelbach 1923: 7). Given its low number of burials and relatively few high status grave goods, Harageh was probably only a small Predynastic community with little social differentiation.

In two areas of Sedment, SW of Harageh (Cemetery J, and between Cemetery K and the floodplain), circular pits were excavated which (rarely) contained some pottery but no burials (Petrie and Brunton 1924: 9). Though different in form from pottery usually found in burials, small Black-topped Red jars were found in Cemetery J. Most of the pottery found in the circular pits, however, was of types typical of Lower Egyptian Predynastic sites (El Omari, Maadi; Williams 1982: 219). Williams (1982: 221) interprets these pits and their contents as storage caches for a nearby (deflated) settlement of Lower Egypt culture before the northern expansion of Upper Egyptian (Nagada) culture into the Fayum region during Nagada II (Gerzean) times.

Some pottery from Harageh Cemetery H, which Engelbach thought was much later (Pan Graves?), resembles Lower Egyptian Predynastic pottery found at Sedment (Kaiser 1987: 121-122; Williams 1982: 220). The presence of pottery of Lower Egyptian origin at a site in this region is also attested at the cemetery of es-Saff on the east bank opposite Gerza (Habachi and Kaiser 1985: 46). From this evidence it seems likely that the Fayum region was where the two Predynastic cultures of Upper and Lower Egypt first came into contact.



South of Cairo on the east bank, Predynastic evidence of a material culture different from that of Upper Egypt has been found at the two major sites of El-Omari and Maadi. Elsewhere, at Tarkhan, south of Helwan, Nagada III/First Dynasty graves (S.D. 77-82) were excavated, including a very large, “palace-facade” tomb, but no earlier burials were found (Petrie, Wainwright, and Gardiner 1913: 1-31).

At Heliopolis, a small Predynastic cemetery excavated earlier in this century has recently been published (Debono and Mortensen 1988). Dating to the Nagada I and early Nagada II, the burials were orientated with the heads to the south and faces to the east (unlike burial orientation in Upper Egypt where the skulls usually lie toward the west). Pots were the most common grave goods, and ceramics “are typical for the north in the Maadian Period” but also show “traits from the Palestinian tradition” (Debono and Mortensen 1988: 33). A few grave goods are of types found in Upper Egyptian burials (carved stone vases in basalt and limestone) but the flat flint palettes are unlike Upper Egyptian ones (Debono and Mortensen 1988: 39-40).

At Giza on the west bank, four jars of Predynastic types known from Heliopolis and Maadi were found at the foot of the Great Pyramid. Mortensen interprets these and other isolated Predynastic finds at Giza as evidence for a settlement of the Maadi period which was destroyed when the Fourth Dynasty pyramids were built (Mortensen 1985: 147).

At Tura, 2km south of Maadi, 12 pots thought to come from Predynastic graves were found during construction of a road (Junker 1912: fig. 1). These are of types known from Maadi (Rizkana and Seeher 1987: 60). A large Nagada III/Early First Dynasty (?) cemetery was excavated by Junker at Tura, and Kasier (1964: 117) suggests that the southern, and earliest, section of the cemetery dates to a period of 100-150 years before the reign of Ka (Dynasty 0). Grave goods include cylindrical jars, Late class pottery, and a few rectangular palettes, which are typical of the Nagada III culture of Upper Egypt, but there was no early Nagada II pottery such as the Black-topped Red, Decorated, or Wavy-handled classes.

One of the major settlements excavated in the Cairo region is that of El-Omari (3km NE of Helwan), which Debono dates from early Nagada I to the beginning of Nagada II. On the west was a village where the dead were interred in houses, and there was a second village with a separate cemetery, where each grave was covered with a mound of stones (Debono 1956: 330-331). The western village (“Omari A”) extended over a large area and included oval structures of postholes and round, semi-subterranean structures (Debono 1948: 562-563). Pottery at El-Omari is unlike that of the Predynastic Nagada culture, but is related to that of Maadi. Almost all of the pottery (99%) was made of local clay, which was not a Nile clay, and the ceramic technology “could have been brought from Palestine” (Debono and Mortensen 1990: 36, 40). Five calibrated radiocarbon dates on charcoal samples from pits in the “later phases of the settlement” range from 4620 +/-220 B.C. to 4110 +/- 260 B.C.; a sixth sample gives an anomalous date almost one thousand years younger (Mortensen 1992: 173).


Maadi, the other major prehistoric site in the Cairo region, is located on a Pleistocene terrace between mouths of two wadis south of modern Cairo. From 1930 to 1953, Cairo University archaeologists excavated four sets: a large settlement (over 40,000 sq. m) on the terrace, a cemetery and a settlement at the foot of the terrace, and another Predynastic cemetery 1km south in the Wadi Digla (Rizkana and Seeher 1984: 237). The initial reports are very cursory; a more comprehensive interpretation of the early fieldwork at Maadi is found in Hayes (1965: 122-133). Final reports of the Cairo University excavations at Maadi have been published in four volumes by the German Institute of Archaeology at Cairo (Rizkana and Seeher 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990). More recently, excavations at Maadi have also been conducted in the eastern part of the settlement, which was not excavated earlier (Caneva, Frangipani, and Palmieri 1989: 287).

The economy at Maadi was based on farming (emmer wheat and barley) and herding (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs). with considerably less evidence for hunting and fishing. Domesticated dogs and asses were also kept. the presence of many large grinding stones, some weighing more than 50kg, and hundreds of storage pits and storage jars strongly suggests a permanent settlement subsisting mainly by farming (Rizkana and Seeher 1989: 74-75).

Settlement debris at Maadi was found in an area 1300m long and 100-130m wide. Evidence from the recent Maadi excavations suggests shifting occupation within the settlement (Caneva, Frangipane, and Palmieri 1989: 287), with earlier occupation in the eastern part and later occupation to the west (Caneva, Frangipane, and Palmieri 1987: 113). There is no evidence of a planned settlement, nor are there any known areas of specialized activity. houses consisted mainly of wattle and matting, sometimes covered with mud. Some rectangular buildings were noted, and four subterranean structures were found in the NW part of the site. Interpretations of the excavated settlement data are hampered by earlier digging for sebakh, and by problems with understanding the earlier excavations (Rizkana and Seeher 1989: 74-75).

Pottery from Maadi has datable parallels in Upper Egypt from the Nagada I and II periods, and Rizkana and Seeher (1987: 78) propose an end to occupation at Maadi by late Nagada II times (the end of Nagada IIc). Four radiocarbon dates from the recent excavations at Maadi are “grouped around 3650 B.C. (MASCA calibrated)” (Caneva, Frangipane, and Palmieri 1987: 106).

Over 80% of the pottery excavated at Maadi is of a local ware not found in Upper Egypt, which “clearly underlines the difference between Lower and Upper Egypt in Predynastic times” (Rizkana and Seeher 1987: 78). This ware is tempered with grit (sand and sometimes crushed stone) and organic matter, and is mainly black or reddish-born (the latter is slightly burnished) (Rizkana and Seeher 1987: 23-26). Much less frequent are painted designs on this ware, or imitations of the Upper Egyptian Black-topped Red class (Rizkana and Seeher 1987: 26-28). According to Caneva, Frangipane, and Palmieri (1987: 107), the red jars “show such uniformity of shape, size, and colour that they seem to document the first standardized, non-domestic production”.

Two other local wares are also found at Maadi: a red-burnished ware with less organic temper, and a yellowish burnished ware with no organic temper. Twelve sherds of the imported Upper Egyptian Black-topped Red class were also recovered. Imported from Palestine, a coarse-tempered ware with ledge-handles or lug-handles accounted for less than 3% of the settlement pottery (Rizkana and Seeher 1987: 31-32).

Among the artifacts from Maadi are a few goods that most likely were imports from Upper Egypt, where they are much more numerous: rhomboid slate palettes, six disk-shaped maceheads, and wide-brimmed jars of diorite (Rizkana and Seeher 1989: 77). Much more frequent, however, are palettes of limestone in different sizes and shapes, probably locally made (Rizkana and Seeher 1984: 244). The numerous black basalt vases at Maadi in shapes similar to locally produced pottery suggest a Lower Egyptian source (Rizkana and Seeher 1989: 77). Some typical Nagada II artifacts, such as zoomorphic palettes, pear-shaped maceheads, and Decorated class pottery, are lacking at Maadi, and the material culture shows “a strong and self-subsistent local tradition” (Rizkana and Seeher 1984: 251).

Maadi has been regarded as a center of copper production, as Hayes (9165: 128) suggests:The site has yielded copious evidence that copper ore was imported and worked in some bulk and that locally a knowledge of smelting, casting, and other metallurgical processes had advanced sufficiently for the production of a variety of metal implements.

Rizkana and Seeher (1984: 239), however, think that this is an exaggerated view, given the actual finds: two copper axes, a few small objects (pins, chisels, wires, and fish-hooks). three large pieces of copper, which may have been ingots, were also found at Maadi, and a site of copper smelting has only been tentatively identified (Rizkana and Seeher 1984: 239).

There are no grave goods in any of the 76 graves in the cemetery next to the Maadi settlement, with the exception of a flint flake in one grave (Rizkana and Seeher 1985: 249). In the cemetery at the mouth of the Wadi Digla (“Maadi South”) 468 human burials and 14 animal burials were excavated (Rizkana and Seeher 1987: 19). These graves were simple oval pits, with either a few pots or entirely without grave goods (Rizkana and Seeher 1989: 74).

Although archaeological evidence at Maadi and Maadi-related sites is mainly from settlements, unlike most of the surviving evidence for the Nagada culture in Upper Egypt, what is known about Maadi suggests a material culture very different from that in the south. the cemetery at Maadi, with its very simple human burials, is also very different from Predynastic cemeteries in Upper Egypt. Some contact with SW Asia is demonstrated by the imported coarse-tempered ware at Maadi, which may have been a northern Egyptian center for trade with Palestine (see Seeher 1990: 153-154).


On the western fringe of the Delta, about 60km NW of Cairo, is the large prehistoric site of Merimda. Junker dug here from 1928-1939, but most of the excavation notes were lost during World War II (Baumgartel 1965: 503). Junker thought that the ca. 160,000 sq m of living debris was occupied continuously, but Kemp (1968: 27) states that, given the almost complete absence of anything suggesting communal organization , there probably was horizontal displacement of the settlement through time. Average age estimates of radiocarbon dates for Merimda are ca. 4800 B.C. (early Neolithic), and >4400 B.C. (late Neolithic) (Hassan 1985b: 95), which are considerably earlier than the recent radiocarbon dates reported for Maadi. Given horizontal displacement of the Merimda settlement through time, Kemp (1968: 26) thinks it questionable as to what extent the intra-settlement burials and houses were contemporary. Unlike Predynastic burials, the Merimda ones were without grave goods, and many were of children (Kemp 1968: 23, 26).

More recent excavations have been conducted by Eiwanger at Merimda, between and to the north of the eastern and western areas excavated by Junker (Eiwanger 1984: 11). Although Junker identified three phases of occupation at Merimda, Eiwanger has identified five, with a discernible change in the lithics and ceramics between the first and subsequent phases (Eiwanger 1988: 51-54). Postholes of small oval houses were found in all five phases (Eiwanger 1982: 67-68). Fish bones along with numerous artifacts used in fishing, such as net weights, harpoons, and fish hooks, suggest one important subsistence activity (Eiwanger 1982: 80). Storage pits are known from Phases II-V, and emmer wheat and barley were the most abundant plant remains (Wetterstrom 1993).


Finally in the northern Delta, remarkable evidence has recently been excavated below the water table at Tell e-Fara’in/Buto by von der Way. Below levels dating to the third millennium B.C. was a settlement of “Lower Egyptian culture” of the second half of the 4th millennium B.C. (von der Way 1988: 247). Most of the wares at Tell el Fara’in were also found at Maadi, and the same type of black basalt jars were found at both sites. At two sites about 3km SW of Tell el-Fara’in, Ezbet el-Qerdahi East and West, more ceramics of the same wares as found a Maadi and Tell el-Fara’in have also been excavated (Wunderlich, von der Way, and Schmidt 1989: 313).

Pottery of Upper Egyptian classes was also found in “one small place” at Tell el-Fara’in, which von der Way (1988: 248) thinks may be a kind of trade depot. Pottery of the ‘Amuq F period from northern Syria was also imported to the site. Two types of mosaic clay cones or nails, used for temple decoration, and a clay cylinder for strengthening temple steps – an object known to date to the Uruk period – have also been excavated in the earliest levels at Tell el-Fara’in (von der Way 1987: 257, 1992b: 220-221). How the site of Tell el-Far’in/Buto realtes to the Uruk culture of SW Asia, however, has yet to be demonstrated by data from the on-going investigations.

Above the two layers at Buto with ceramics of Lower Egyptian tradition is a transitional layer with decreasing amounts of these ceramics and, for the first time, Upper Egyptian (Nagada IId) style pottery (von der Way 1991: 420-422, 1992a: 3). In this transitional layer (IIIa) forms “suddenly occur” which are typical of the Lower Egyptian tradition but are manufactured in the “Nagada manner” (Kohler 992b: 17-18). Von der Way (1992a: 4) interprets this as evidence of “cultural superposition by assimilation”, which was followed in the Nagada IIIa period by “the final struggle” for political unification. Kohler (1992a: 5), however, suggests that there were not different two cultures in upper and Lower Egypt during the Nagada II period, but that “style” separated these two regions, and by late Nagada II times both regions had nearly the same utilitarian pottery and lithics.


Ancient Egypt is one of the earliest examples of (primary) state formation, and Predynastic data should elucidate general processes which may be applicable to other cases of state formation. but we only have a partial understanding of the Predynastic, based on different types of data in the north and south. Possibly new and forthcoming evidence from the Delta will provide information on the processes of state formation and unification there, but in the south there is the problem of so many missing settlement data, which are needed in order to make theoretical generalizations.

Despite the problem of poorer settlement evidence in Upper Egypt, the emerging picture of Egypt in the 4th millennium B.C. is of two different material cultures with different belief systems: the Predynastic Naqada culture of Upper Egypt and the Maadi culture of Lower Egypt. Archaeological evidence in Lower Egypt consists mainly of settlements, with very simple burials in cemeteries, and suggests a culture different from that of Upper Egypt, where cemeteries with elaborate burials are found. While the rich grave goods in several major cemeteries in Upper Egypt represent the acquired wealth of higher social strata, the economic sources of this wealth cannot be satisfactorily determined because there are so few settlement data, though the larger cemeteries were probably associated with centers of craft production. Trade and exchange of finished goods and luxury materials from the Eastern and Western Deserts and Nubia would also have taken place in such centers. In Lower Egypt, however, settlement data permit a broader reconstruction of the prehistoric economy, which at present does not suggest any great socio-economic complexity.

Differentiation in the Predynastic cemeteries of Upper Egypt (but not Lower Egypt) is symbolic of status display and rivalry (Trigger 1987: 60), which probably represent the earliest processes of competition and the aggrandizement of local polities in Egypt. The importation of exotic materials for craft goods found in burials may have become a political strategy, and the control of prestige goods would have reinforced the position of a chief among his supporters.

Evidence of extensive contact between Upper Egypt and Nubia in later Predynastic times is indicative f the increasing interest in prestige goods. Numerous Nagada culture trade goods have been found at most A-Group sites in Nubia between Kubania in the north and Saras in the south. These include jars that may have contained beer or wine, and Wavy-handled jars. Other Nagada pottery classes are found at A-Group sites, as are Naqada craft goods: copper tools, stone vessels and palettes, linen, and beads of stone and faience (Nordstrom 1972: 24; Smith 1991: 108).

A-group burials are very similar to graves of the Nagada culture, but inspite of similar burials and grave goods Trigger (1976: 33) thinks that the A-Group developed from an indigenous population that was in contact with Upper Egypt and much influenced by Nagada culture. A-Group wares are distinctive, and few A-Group artifacts have been found in Upper Egyptian graves, suggesting that the A-Group acted as middlemen in a trading network with Upper Egypt (Trigger 1976: 39). Luxury materials, such as ivory, ebony, incense, and exotic animal skins, all greatly desired in Dynastic times as well, came from father south and passed through Nubia. Kaiser (1957: 74, fig. 26), however, interprets the A-Group evidence as a “colonial” penetration into Lower Nubia to exploit trade and raw materials (Needler 1984: 29).

In his analysis of the Classic A-Group (contemporaneous with Nagada III) “royal” Cemetery L at Qustal, Williams (1986: 177) proposes another theory: that this cemetery represents Nubian rulers who were responsible for unifying Egypt and founding the early Egyptian state. The A-Group n Nubia, though, appears to have been a separate culture from that of Predynastic Upper Egypt, and the model that may best explain the archaeological evidence is one of accelerated contact between the two regions in later Predynastic times. That the material culture of the Nagada culture was later found in northern Egypt (with no Nubian elements) would seem to argue against William’s theory of a Nubian origin for the Early Dynastic state in Egypt.

The unification of Egypt took place in late Predynastic times, but the processes involved in this major transition to the Dynastic state are poorly understood. What is truly unique about this state is the integration of rule over an extensive geographic region, in contrast to the other contemporaneous Near Eastern polities in Nubia, Mesopotamia, Palestine and the Levant. Present evidence suggests that the state which emerged by the First Dynasty had its roots in the Nagada culture of Upper Egypt, where grave types, pottery, and artifacts demonstrate an evolution of form from the Predynastic to the First Dynasty. This cannot be demonstrated in Upper Egypt. Hierarchical society with much social and economic differentiation, as symbolized in the Nagada II cemeteries of Upper Egypt, does not seem to have been present, then, in Lower Egypt, a fact which also supports an Upper Egyptian origin for the unified state. thus archaeological evidence cannot support the earlier theories that the founders of Egyptian civilization were an invading Dynastic race, from the East (Petrie 1920: 49, 1939: 77; Emery 1967: 38), or from the south, in Nubia (Williams 1986: 177).

How this transformation was accomplished and the amount of time involved are points of disagreement. Based on an analysis of archaeological evidence, the earliest writing in Egypt, and later king lists, Kaiser (1964: 118, 105-114) proposes that the Nagada culture expanded north in Nagada IIc-d times to sites in the Fayum region (such as the cemetery at Gerza), and then later to the Cairo area and the Delta. The unification, therefore, was much earlier than the period immediately preceding the beginning of the First Dynasty (Kaiser 1964: 114, 1985: 61-62, 1990: 288-289). Trigger (1987: 61), however, states that if the unification occurred at an early date there would be archaeological evidence from Nagada III burials of a court-centered high culture. Instead, Trigger proposes that the northward expansion of the Nagada culture during Nagada II-III was the result of refugees emigrating from the developing states in the south, or the presence of Nagada traders involved in commerce with SW Asia. While the unification may have been achieved through conquest in the north, an earlier unification of southern polities (Nagada, Hierakonpolis, and Abydos), may have been achieved by a series of alliances (Trigger 1987: 61).

Based on evidence from his excavations at Minshat Abu Omar, Wildung (1984: 269) states that there is no indication of conflict in this region of the Delta. The site was occupied ca. 3300-2900 B.C., which Wildung interprets as showing continuous cultural evolution in Egypt from south to north. He suggests that there never was a military conquest of the Delta by kings from Upper Egypt, such as may be presented on the Narmer Palette (Wildung 1984: 269). Likewise at other recently investigated sites in the Delta (Tell Ibrahim Awad, Tell el-Fara’in/Buto, and Tell el’Iswid) there is no evidence of destruction layers (van den Brink 1989: 80). According to Kohler’s (1992a: 6) interpretation of the ceramics at Tell el-Fara’in/Buto, Upper and Lower Egypt “grew together” by trade and increasing cultural exchange very early so that Upper Egyptian commercial expansion and conquests in Lower Egypt were not necessary.

Wildung’s explanation, however, fails to account for the abandonment of Maadi during Nagada IIc (Rizkana and Seeher 1987: 78). A motivating factor for Nagada culture expansion into northern Egypt would have been to directly control the lucrative trade with other regions in the eastern Mediterranean. but more importantly, large boats were the key to control and communication on the Nile and large-scale economic exchange, and timber for the construction of such boats (cedars) did not grow in Egypt, but came from the Levant. Gold was an Upper Egyptian resource (Trigger 1983: 39), along with various kinds of rock used for stone vessels and beads – highly desired goods and materials in long-distance trade exchange. Groups in Lower Egypt did not have such resources, and in a configuration of trading partners in the eastern Mediterranean, would only have been (expendable) middlemen.

The eventual replacement of Maadi artifacts in the north by a material culture originating in the south may represent military exploits, while colonization by southerner may have occurred in northern regions where there were less well-developed local polities, as at Gerza or Minshat Abu Omar. Guksch (1991: 41) suggests that the Nagada IId ceramic horizon in Lower Egypt represents expanded Upper Egyptian trade into the NE Delta in late Nagada II times, with a (later) militarily-achieved political unification in Nagada III/dynasty 0 times. Possibly there was first a more or less peaceful (?) movement or migration(s) of Nagada culture peoples from south to north that may have been formalized by a later, or concurrent, military presence. A shift in settlement patterns is seen, and by the First Dynasty the north was much more densely inhabited than the south (Mortensen 1991: 24).

Archaeological evidence suggests a system much too complex for the southern expansion to be explained by military conquest alone, and the northern culture may have made important contributions to the unified polity which emerged (Seeher 1991: 318). One result of this expansion throughout northern Egypt would have been a greatly elaborated (state) administration, and by the beginning of the First Dynasty this was managed in part by the invention of writing, used on seals and tags affixed to state goods.

Egyptian contact in the 4th millennium B.C. with SW Asia is undeniable, but the effect of this contact on state formation in Egypt is less clear (Wenke 1991: 301). There is the archaeological evidence of Palestinian wares at Maadi and later Abydos (Tomb U0j), and also Nagada classes of pottery and stone vessels in forms resembling Palestinian prototypes (wavy-handles and ledge-handles). Cylinder seals of Egyptian manufacture, which undeniably originated in Mesopotamia, are found in a few late Predynastic graves (see Kantor 1952: 246), and Uruk culture architectural elements have recently been excavated at Tell el-Fara’in/Buto (see von der Way 1992b: 220-223). The unified state which emerged in Egypt in the 3rd millennium B.C., however, is unlike the polities in Mesopotamia, the Levant, northern Syria, or Early Bronze Age Palestine – in sociopolitical organization, material culture, and belief system. There was undoubtedly heightened commercial contact with SW Asia in the late 4th millennium B.C., but the Early Dynastic state which emerged in Egypt was unique and indigenous in character.

Given the quality of earlier excavations and publications, and the poor preservation of many settlement data, we still cannot specify how a centralized state emerged in Egypt by 3050 B.C., and explanations for the origin of the early Egyptian state remain hypothetical. Nonetheless, the roots of the major transition from autonomous villages to an early state in Egypt from simple to complex society – are to be found in Upper Egypt at large centers such as Nagada, where Predynastic cemeteries provide the main evidence for this culture.


Hail, thou Runner, Lord, Only One, thou maker of the things that are, thou hast fashioned the tongue of the Company of the Gods, thou hast produced whatsoever cometh forth from the waters, thou springest up out of them above the submerged land of the Lake of Horus. Let me breathe the air which cometh forth from thy nostrils, and the north wind which cometh forth from thy mother Nut.

“Hail to thee, O thou Thigh which dwelleth in the northern heaven in the Great Lake, which art seen and which dieth not.

When he setteth in life like crystal he performeth all manner of things therein which are like unto the things which are done in the Lake of double Fire, wherein there is none that rejoiceth, and wherein are no evil things whatsoever. –Let me–live with the god Hetep, clothed and not despoiled by the lords of the north and may the lords of divine things bring food unto me; may he make me to go forward and may I come forth, and may he bring my power to me there, and may I receive it, and may my equipment be from the god Hetep.

Though nearly all Egyptologists agree about the meaning of the word being “the place of departed souls,” yet it has been translated in various ways, different scholars locating the Duat in different parts of creation. Dr. Brugsch and others place it under the earth, others have supposed it to be the space which exists between the arms of Shu and the body of Nut, but the most recent theory put forth is that it was situated neither above nor below the earth, but beyond Egypt to the north, from which it was separated by the mountain range which, as the Egyptians thought, supported the sky. The region of the Duat was a long, mountainous, narrow valley with a river running along it; starting from the east it made its way to the north, and then taking a circular direction it came back to the east.


Turning to the great work of Brugsch on the ” Geographical Inscriptions of the Old-Egyptian Monuments,” we find that the Egyptians considered the farthest limit in the North to be ” the four pillars or supports of heaven.” The fact that these four supports of heaven, instead of being situated in four opposite directions from Egypt, are all in the farthest Norths is very significant. It shows that though the people might speak of heaven as supported on four pillars, it is not to be inferred there from that they conceived of the earth as flat, and of the sky as a flat Oriental roof one story above it. Brugsch himself, though writing upon the supposition that the Egyptians’ earth was flat, avoids this mistake. His inference, coming from one who had a traditional wrong theory to support, is most interesting and valuable. He says, ” Inasmuch as these ‘ four supports of heaven, the northern limit of the earth as known to the Egyptians, nowhere else occur as name of people, land, or river, it seems to me most probable that we have herein the designation of a high mountain which was perhaps characterized by four peaks, or which consisted of four ranges, from which peculiarity it received its name. Like all peoples of antiquity, — at least all those whose literature has come down to us, — the Egyptians conceived of the earth as rising toward the North, so that at last at its northernmost point it joined the sky and supported it.”

Currently, the Levantine Epipalaeolithic is organized into three major cultural divisions, the Mushabian, the Geometric Kebaran and the Natufian. The Mushabian is characterized by high frequencies of arched backed bladelets, scalene bladelets and La Mouillah points, and high microburin frequencies (Henry 1989: 91-3). Most Mushabian sites are in the arid regions of the southern Levant, particularly the central Negev and northeastern Sinai, and date to c. 14,000-12,000 b.p. Geometric Kebaran industries are defined by high frequencies of straight backed bladelets and trapeze/rectangles, and very low microburin frequencies (Henry 1989: 93). The Geometric Kebaran is generally contemporaneous with the Mushabian, at c. 14,500-12,500 b.p., and sites are found in both arid and Mediterranean zones of the southern Levant. Natufian assemblages are characterized by high frequencies of geometric microliths (predominantly lunates), arched and straight backed bladelets, and high microburin frequencies (Henry 1989: 94). This industry dates to 12,500-10,000 b.p., and most sites are situated in the Mediterranean zone of the southern Levant.


2 Responses to “Egypt”

  1. 1 Madge Weeding July 21, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Could you please give more information regarding the provenance of the images. They are all fantastic, but I would like to know more about each one.

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