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THEBES (Luxor) Egypt.

Known to Homer (Il. 9.38 1-83), it lies 714 km S of Cairo. It was known to the Egyptians as Waset, the city of the south, and more popularly as Diospolis Megale (Diod. 1.15.97), the great city of Zeus, identified with the Egyptian god Amun. It became the capital of Egypt in the 11th Dynasty (ca. 2052 B.C.), supplanting Memphis, the earlier capital. Its great period was during the 18th-20th Dynasties (ca. 1550-1100 B.C.) when it was the capital of the Egyptian Empire. Although Thebes had long ceased to be the political center of Egypt in the Ptolemaic period, it was still important. However the city revolted against Ptolemy V Epiphanes and was severely punished. The city is extensively described during that time by both Diodorus (1.15.97) and Strabo (17.1.46). Under Roman rule, building activities continued and the city attracted attention because of the colossi of Memnon as they were then known. During the Early Christian period, the W part of the city became a monastic settlement, and most of the temples were converted into churches. Modern Luxor contains but a small part of the remains of the ancient city, which extended to cover Karnak and a number of villages on the W bank of the Nile. The contribution both of the Ptolemies and of the Roman emperors to the religious continuity of the city is to be seen scattered all over the vast area. Alexander the Great has a naos within the enclosure of the Luxor Temple. The granite sanctuary at Karnak commemorates the coronation of Philip Arhidaeus by the Egyptian gods in the presence of Amun Ra. The Temple of Ptah—identified with the Greek Hephaistos, and Hathor, identified with Aphrodite—has gateways which were added during the Ptolemaic period. The fine granite gateway which lies in front of the temple of the war god Mont was built by Ptolemy Philadelphos. The small chapel to the W of the temple is also a work of the Ptolemies. The gateway of the Temple of Mut was erected by Ptolemy I Soter. Here the king is represented shaking the sistrum, the queen plays the harp, and a princess beats a tamborine before Mut and Sekhmet. In Thebes West, across the river, there still stand the two colossi representing Amenhotep III seated upon a throne of which the figure to the N was thought by the Greeks to be that of Memnon, one of the great heroes of the Trojan War, who was said to have led an army of the Ethiopians to the siege of that city. The rather small but beautiful temple at Deir el-Medina is entirely a work of the Ptolemies. Augustus appears in the Temple of Amun where a statue of him was found. The additional court and pylon which are to be seen in the Temple of Nectanebos at Medinet Habu, were dedicated by Domitian. Hadrian, who visited Thebes with his wife Sabina (A.D. 130), began the construction of the temple that stands to the S of Medinet Habu and dedicated it to Isis. Antoninus Pius completed it.


A. Weigall, A Guide to the Antiquities of Upper Egypt (1913) 60 et passim; C. F. Nums, Thebes of the Pharaohs: Pattern for Every City (1965)PMI; K. Michalowski, Aegypten (1968) 518ffPMI.


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