The Complete Cities of Ancient Egypt, by Dr. Steven Snape, instructor of Egyptian Archaeology at the University of Liverpool, reveals the astonishing urban world of ancient Egyptian civilizations, from large cities like Memphis, Thebes, and Alexandria, to lost centers like the enigmatic Amarna of the pharaoh Akhenaten. The Complete Cities of Ancient Egypt additionally summarizes the latest urban discoveries in the field of Egyptology.
Neglected by historians and Egyptologists for decades, ancient Egyptian urban history has received a welcome boost thanks to the publication of this title. Snape, a leading authority on ancient Egyptian cities and fortresses, surveys the sphere of urban life from the Nile River Delta to Nubia, to interesting isolated desert oases and settlements in the Sinai Peninsula. Divided into five sections, Snape covers 3,000 years of urban history in only 240 pages. Topic-driven chapters within each section cover a vast array of subject matter including “Greco-Roman Egypt,” “Egyptian Words for Towns and Cities,” “Towns and Houses in the New Kingdom,” and “Heliopolis—City of the Sun.”
The Complete Cities of Ancient Egypt is a visually stunning book with 242 illustrations (of which 193 are in color.) The illustrations are of outstanding quality. Diagrams, visual reconstructions, ancient works of art, and impressive aerial photography contextualize Snape's analysis of urban life and culture in ancient Egypt. Aside from the illustrations and photographs, we also appreciate the maps found throughout the text, although we wish that timelines in chronological order had been included for each of the cities covered. Throughout The Complete Cities of Ancient Egypt, primary source documents are seamlessly incorporated into the chapters, which should arouse the interest of the general reader and expert alike.
Other features in the publication include an introductory chapter, a useful glossary with terms in English, a “Recommended Reading” section with excellent suggestions for further study, an acknowledgements section, the sources of illustrations, and a general index. One is surprised not to find a chronological list of emperors or a list of key battles with corresponding dates in the text.
Our Site recommends The Complete Cities of Ancient Egypt to Egyptologists, urban historians, archaeologists, and engineers interested in ancient history, social or cultural historians, and anyone interested in ancient Egyptian society.
This volume has been published in English through Thames & Hudson in the United States and is currently available
Here is a quick description and cover image of book The Complete Cities of Ancient Egypt written by Steven Snape which was published in 2014-8-18. You can read this before The Complete Cities of Ancient Egypt PDF EPUB full Download at the bottom.
Ancient Egyptian cities and towns have until recently been one of the least-studied and least-published aspects of this great ancient civilization. Now, new research and excavation are transforming our knowledge. This is the first book to bring these latest discoveries to a wide audience and to provide a comprehensive overview of what we know about ancient settlement during the dynastic period. The cities range in date from early urban centers to large metropolises. From houses to palaces to temples, the different parts of Egyptian cities and towns are examined in detail, giving a clear picture of the urban world. The inhabitants, from servants to Pharaoh, are vividly brought to life, placed in the context of the civil administration that organized every detail of their lives. Famous cities with extraordinary buildings and fascinating histories are also examined here through detailed individual treatments, including: Memphis, home of the pyramid–building kings of the Old Kingdom Thebes, containing the greatest concentration of monumental buildings from the ancient world and Amarna, intimately associated with the pharaoh Akhenaten. An analysis of information from modern excavations and ancient texts recreates vibrant ancient communities, providing range and depth beyond any other publication on the subject.
City where the famous Rosetta Stone was discovered in 1799 by Jean-Francois Champollion. The Rosetta Stone is known for being the key to deciphering the, up until that time, mysterious and undecipherable hieroglyphics. Located in Lower Egypt, Rosetta was founded in 800 AD and was an important trading city because of its key location on the Nile and Mediterranean. At one time it was a cosmopolitan coastal city with a monopoly on delta-grown rice, however, it eventually declined with the growth of Alexandria.
'A feast of facts for any Egyptophile . Any serious traveller venturing along the Nile Valley today should take this book with them, while those who prefer armchair travelling will gain much pleasure from learning about these ancient cities without having to stir from home'
'A comprehensive appraisal of cities and city life in dynastic Egypt'
'The first concise summary presenting Egyptian settlement archaeology to a wider audience'
- The city in Roman and Byzantine Egypt /
by: Alston, Richard, 1965-
- Private life in New Kingdom Egypt /
by: Meskell, Lynn,
- Life in Ancient Egypt /
by: Casson, Lionel.
- Visual and written culture in ancient Egypt /
by: Baines, John, 1946-
- Visual and written culture in ancient Egypt
by: Baines, John, 1946-
How Cairo got its name
The most important Sunni Islamic institution in the world, Al-Azhar University is located in a district of the capital city called Islamic Cairo – otherwise known as Historic Cairo and Medieval Cairo. Prior to the arrival of the first Muslims in Egypt in AD 640, Alexandria was the capital of Egypt. But keen to establish their own base in the style of other Islamic powerhouses in the Middle East, a number of religious leaders began to focus their efforts on what is today known as Cairo. The original Muslim name for the city was Fusat – which is now Old Cairo – but the Fatimid caliphate of Jawhar al-Siqilli renamed the city as al-Mu’izziyya al-Qaahirah. This was later shortened to al-Qaahirah (Victorious City), with subsequent rulers mainly during the Ottoman era allowing the name to evolve to Cairo.
Salah ad-Din (Saladin), the highly decorated general and sultan, built a fortified city within the city and became the first ruler of Egypt and Syria. The citadel he built became a strategic focal point for Islam for over 700 years, including the ‘golden age’ in the 14th century.
The Complete Cities of Ancient Egypt - History
The cities of Ancient Egypt developed along the Nile River due to the fertile farmland along its banks. The typical city had a wall around it with two entrances. There was a major road down the center of the town with smaller, narrow streets connecting to it. The houses and buildings were made of mud-brick. If a building was destroyed in a flood, generally a new building was just built on top of it.
Some cities in Ancient Egypt were specialized. For example, there were political towns that housed government workers and officials such as the capital cities of Memphis and Thebes. Other towns were religious towns centered around a major temple. Still other towns were built to house workers for major construction projects like the pyramids.
- Memphis - Memphis was the capital of Egypt from 2950 BC to 2180 BC. Some historians estimate that, during its peak, Memphis was the largest city in the world. Memphis continued to be a large and important city in Egypt even after the capital was moved to Thebes. It was also a center of religion with many temples. The main god of Memphis was Ptah, the creator god and the god of craftsmen.
From early towns to booming metropolises, The Complete Cities of Ancient Egypt explores every facet of urban life in ancient Egypt with a leading authority in the field as a guide
Ancient Egyptian cities and towns have until recently been one of the least-studied and least-published aspects of this great ancient civilization. Now, new research and excavation are transforming our knowledge. This is the first book to bring these latest discoveries to a wide audience and to provide a comprehensive overview of what we know about ancient settlement during the dynastic period.
The cities range in date from early urban centers to large metropolises. From houses to palaces to temples, the different parts of Egyptian cities and towns are examined in detail, giving a clear picture of the urban world. The inhabitants, from servants to Pharaoh, are vividly brought to life, placed in the context of the civil administration that organized every detail of their lives.
Famous cities with extraordinary buildings and fascinating histories are also examined here through detailed individual treatments, including: Memphis, home of the pyramid–building kings of the Old Kingdom Thebes, containing the greatest concentration of monumental buildings from the ancient world and Amarna, intimately associated with the pharaoh Akhenaten. An analysis of information from modern excavations and ancient texts recreates vibrant ancient communities, providing range and depth beyond any other publication on the subject.
Cities in ancient Egypt grew out of the development of agriculture and the emergence of the state as the unifying and predominant form of political organization. However, even as early as 3500 BC, towns and cities (if they can be called such), consisted of regional capitals linked to the population centers of smaller administrative districts. The term we most frequently apply to these districts is nome, which was actually not used to describe a province until the Greek Period. During the New Kingdom, the Egyptian word for "city" was niwt, a term which in the earliest texts of the 1st Dynasty refers to "settlement". As early as the 5th Dynasty, the term for a "town" or large village was dmi. The term for "village", which was apparently linked to the word for "household", was whyt.
Unfortunately, our knowledge about Egyptian cities, and settlements in general is limited. Every aspect of of ancient Egyptian cities conspires to limit our understanding. Settlements and cities were located on the floodplain, with a preference for proximity to the Nile, in order to receive goods by boat and for its source of water. Unlike temples and tombs, most housing and public buildings in these cities and settlements were made of mudbrick throughout pharaonic times and shifts in the course of the Nile, the build-up of the floodplain by the annual deposition of silt and the impact of high Nile floods have all led to their destruction, which has sometimes been complete. Many cities, such as Thebes, have been built over by modern settlements, and even when some remains have survived, the mudbrick has been harvested by farmers to use as fertilizer. Finally, archaeological investigations since the nineteenth century have focused on temples and tombs, with their rich and spectacular art, sculpture and architecture, rather than the few less thrilling ancient Egyptian towns.
Early prehistoric settlement sites in the Nile Valley vary in size from as little as about 16 meters. The largest sites probably represent repeated occupations, with lateral displacement through time. By contrast, the Predynastic villages were the result of permanent occupation with a vertical build-up of deposits.
Prior to about 5000 BC, the inhabitants of the Nile Valley were mostly foragers who practiced fishing, fowling, hunting and collecting wild plants. The first known farming community then occupied a site at the edge of the floodplain of the Nile Delta at Merimda Beni Salama, about twenty-five kilometers to the northwest of Cairo. This was a large village, consisting of about 180,000 square meters and it remained populated for about 1,000 (one thousand) years, until about 4000 BC. At the end of this period, the dwellings consisted of clusters of semi-subterranean huts made from mud with mud-plastered walls and floors. The village had residential areas interspersed with workshops and public areas. Even though the orientation of huts in rows seems to suggest some organizational order, there is really no indication of elite areas or any pronounced hierarchical organization. Initial estimates of the village population were around 16,000, but more recent investigations suggest that it more likely had between 1,300 and 2,000 inhabitants, provided the whole of the area was simultaneously occupied.
Around 3500 BC, the village of Maadi was established about fifteen kilometers south of present day Cairo, probably as a trade center. The site shows evidence of huts, storage magazines, silos and cellars. We believe that Maadi was at the end of an overland trade route to Palestine, and was probably inhabited by middlemen from the Levant at that time, as evidenced by house and grave patterns. In fact, trade items including copper and bitumen from southwest Asia have been unearthed in this location. There were also artifacts discovered that associate the site with Upper Egypt, suggesting that Maadi was a trade link between the south and the Levant. Maadi seems to have been about the same size as Merimda Beni Salama.
At about the same time in the Nile Valley, the two towns of Hierakonpolis and Naqada became much more important, growing in relationship to neighboring villages. Hierakonpolis was contained in an area of about 50,000 to 100,000 square meters, which is comparable in area to the area known as South Town in the Naqada region. Excavations at Hierakonpolis reveal that over time, the village shifted to the northeast, suggesting that older areas were abandoned and used for disposal. At any one time, there were probably between 1,500 and 2,000 inhabitants.
Prior to the emergence of South town in the Naqada region, the area was dotted with small villages and hamlets between the edge of the floodplain and the desert margin. Dating to around 3800 BC, these villages, often spaced about two kilometers apart, consisted mostly of flimsy huts. However, by about 3600 BC, one of those villages began to build up into a true town. No other villages at the edge of the desert are known from that time. Of course, as the town grew, some of the rural population was incorporated into the emerging urban center, and a low Nile flood level caused some shifting of village communities closer to the river. South Town possibly developed into an urban settlement because of its association with a religious cult and shrine, which became a center for solidarity among the villages, which were probably organized by kin-related lineages and clans. It probably developed into an early administrative center, where food exchanges and trade transactions among the villages and even nearby nomads of the Eastern Desert were overseen. The villages of Naqada seem to also have established trade with Hierakonpolis, where the development of an urban center was possibly most related to its trade with Nubia and the Near East by way of Maadi.
A decline in the Nile flood discharge and an increase in demands for trade goods by expanding urban dwellers, beginning from around 3500 to 3300 BC, led to the integration of neighboring communities into larger political units, with territorial chiefdoms and petty kingdoms. This also led to some sporadic warfare and therefore, fortified walled cities. Each of these became associated with a territorial standard representing the tribal or ethnic groups. In Mesopotamia, this evolution led to the emergence of city states, but perhaps because of the linear arrangement and limitations of the Nile Valley, this did not happen in Egypt. Instead, the course of the Nile Valley urbanization followed a political transformation that we believe, around 3200 BC, led to the emergence of some sub-national unity.
Abydos, north of Naqada and Hierakonpolis, existed as a locus of proto-national power that even controlled parts of the Delta some two centuries before the emergence of the 1st Dynasty. The royal necropolis of Abydos continued as a significant religious establishment well after the emergence of Memphis.
By 3000 BC, the unification of all the administrative districts under a single theocratic dynasty was accomplished, we are told, by Menes. Memphis was a result of this unification. The fist kings of Egypt's 1st Dynasty, by consolidating their power at Memphis, diminished the possibility of the rise of rival urban centers. These early kings display considerable brilliance in their consolidation of power at Memphis, developing a royal ideology that bonded all the districts to the person of the ruler, rather than to any given territory. Furthermore, some of the most powerful local deities were included in a cosmogony at Memphis that removed them from their local political districts. Unfortunately, we know very little about ancient Memphis itself. Though it remained an important population center throughout pharaonic history, Memphis remains mostly a mystery, though recent investigations using new technologies are beginning to provide some enlightenment. For example we now know that the city, over its vast history of some three millenniums, shifted eastward in response to the invasion of sand dunes and a shift in the course of the Nile.
Later, other royal cities emerged to become royal capitals, though Memphis always seems to have been an administrative center. Tell el-Dab'a, located in the northeastern Nile Delta, was the residential site of Egyptianized Canaanites and elite Delta administrators. This town was possibly established on the site of an earlier estate, established at the beginning of the 12th Dynasty, as a royal palace of Amenemhet I. The town became the capital city of Egypt during the Hyksos dynasty from about 1585 to 1532, probably because of its favorable location for trade with the coastal Levant and the administration of mining activities in the Sinai. Then, this city's name was probably Avaris. Later, during the Ramessid era, the new capital of Piramesses was located nearby.
Obviously, during the New Kingdom, Thebes became very important, certainly rivaling Memphis. However, the city of Thebes is now completely covered by modern Luxor, and remains almost completely unknown except for the information derived from its temples and monuments, and from some rare excavations. We do know that the Middle Kingdom town consisted of an area of about 3,200 by 1,600 feet, made up on a grid plan and surrounded by a wall measuring some twenty feet thick. That city appears to have been almost completely leveled at the beginning of the New Kingdom, to accommodate the creation of the Great Temple complex of Karnak with a new residential area and suburbs that perhaps spread as far as eight kilometers from the city center.
During the Third Intermediate Period, Tanis, which is located about twenty kilometers north of Piramesses became an important royal city, and during the Late Period, Sais, which is situated on one of the western branches of the Nile and which is one of the earliest prominent settlements of the Delta, became a powerful capital. Of course, during the Ptolemaic (Greek) Period, Alexandria, located northwest of Sais, became Egypt's capital until the Arab invasion.
However, the cities of ancient Egypt, including their locations, functions and organization, were related to various dynamics that shaped the course of Egyptian civilization based on both internal and external forces. There were many specialized cities such as those based on trade. Others, for example, were made up of artisans, craftsmen and workers related to various royal projects. Some of the best preserved of these are four different workers villages have survived to some extent, all of which were situated somewhat off of the Nile. The village at Deir el-Medina is perhaps one of the best known, located on the western bank of the Nile opposite Thebes. It does provide an idea of the organization of a specialized village, as well as a somewhat distorted view of village life. Another workers' village is located at Illahun, on the eastern end of the 12th Dynasty pyramid complex of Senusret II. That town was later occupied by officials of the king's mortuary cult. A third workers' village was discovered at Tell el-Amarna, the capital city built by the heretic king Akhenaten. It was build on the edge of the desert to the east of the Nile, and because the city was abandoned early on, provides one of the clearest indications of village design and construction, though it may not be completely reprehensive of other settlements. A final workers' and surprisingly, one of the last to be excavated, is found at Giza just outside Cairo
The town of Illahun (Kahun) is also representative of various settlements that existed where priests and others were responsible for the rituals and observances related to the mortuary cult of the king, as well as the foundation estate created to finance such cults. Some of these also became administrative centers, in addition to their responsibilities for maintaining the cult.
Another clear example of specialized Egyptian towns were the fortress towns, of which some of the best known were in Nubia and date to the Middle Kingdom. However, there were other similar towns in the northeast and probably even the northwest, particularly later, that protected the borders from Asian and other invaders, as well as from massive immigration. The Egyptian state had also assumed a strategy to control the exploitation and flow of goods from Nubia, where these fortresses were built on either flat land or hills. One of the largest was the fortress excavated at Buhen, abut 250 kilometers south of Aswan. It consisted of a fortress built on an Old Kingdom site that consisted of an inner citadel, surrounded by a mud-brick enclosure wall some five meters thick and eight to nine meters high, all overlooking the Nile. These fortresses in Nubia were developed into towns, with temples and residential areas. Residential areas surrounded the citadel and were adjacent to a temple.
As Egyptian civilization progressed, there appears to have been some seventeen cities and twenty-four towns in an administrative network that linked them to the national capital. Though of course the population varied over time, it has been estimated at between 100,000 and 200,000 people. The populations of provincial capitals and towns were perhaps fairly small, ranging from 1,400 to 3,000 inhabitants. We believe that Illahun, Edfu, Hierakonpolis and Abydos would have been populated by 2,200, 1,800, 1,400 and 900 people, respectively. Tell el-Amarna, on the other hand, as a royal capital would have had a population of between 20,000 and 30,000. Older capitals, such as Memphis and Thebes, may have reached a level of between 30,000 and 40,000 inhabitants at the peaks of their occupation.
The population of these cities and towns were not urban in a modern sense, but perhaps more similar to today's provincial Egyptian towns, which have unmistakable rural aspects to them. The residents consisted not only of urban dwellers, but also of rural people, such as farmers and herdsmen who went out to the countryside each day. Urban inhabitants included artisans, scribes, priests, tax-collectors, servants, guards and soldiers, entertainers and shopkeepers. The kings, nobles and the temples possessed estates that employed a variety of personnel, many of whom were rural workers on the agricultural land. These cities and towns certainly had a hierarchical organization, which included not only palaces, mansions and temples, but also the humble dwellings for the functionaries and peasants, along with workshops, granaries, storage magazines, shops and local markets, all the institutions of residential urban life.
Irregardless of their size, towns and cities became centers of power. In these urban centers, both priests and nobles provided the fabric of the state ideology, as well as the administration of major economic and legal affairs. It was the cities of ancient Egypt that allowed the country to grow into an empire and assume the sophistications of a world power.
'A comprehensive appraisal of cities and city life in dynastic Egypt' - Ancient Egypt
'A feast of facts for any Egyptophile . Any serious traveller venturing along the Nile Valley today should take this book with them, while those who prefer armchair travelling will gain much pleasure from learning about these ancient cities without having to stir from home' - Minerva
'The first concise summary presenting Egyptian settlement archaeology to a wider audience' - Egyptian Archaeology
There are many accommodation options to choose from in Luxor, most of them located on the east bank. You should be able to find something for every budget, from affordable options like the top-rated, three-star Nefertiti Hotel (with rates starting from around $22 per night for a single room) to the splendid luxury of five-star hotels like the historic Sofitel Winter Palace Luxor. The exchange rate is such that foreign visitors will be able to stay comfortably without breaking the bank. Check the TripAdvisor listing for Luxor for a full list of options.
Many people will visit Luxor as part of a longer tour or Nile cruise (it's the starting point for most cruise itineraries). If you plan on visiting independently, you can catch regular buses and trains from Cairo and other major towns across Egypt. Alternatively, Luxor International Airport (LXR) allows you to fly in from a myriad of domestic and international departure points. Consider joining a day tour led by an Egyptologist guide to get a better understanding of what you're seeing. There are many different options listed on Viator, ranging from private luxury tours to hot air balloon flights over the temples.