Nomes of Egypt

Ancient Egypt was divided into Nomes, or administrative unites, that survived with minor changes up to the invasion of the Arabs in the seventh century CE. Generally it is assumed there were 42 of them – 22 in Upper Egypt and 20 in Lower Egypt. During the Old and Middle Kingdoms, a nome was managed by a nomarch or overseer. His rule, strengthened by the pharaoh sometimes became a rival to the central rule. Sometimes an increase in the significance of a nome together with the ambitions of the nomarch ruling it lead to the downfall of the reign and its breakup into smaller provinces, usually fighting against each other. This occurred especially during the Intermediate Periods when various nomarchs usurped their right to the crown. Some of the nomarchs had given rise to strong dynasties that gained rule of the country. This is a list and description of Egypt’s nomes. The locations of some of them are not known. Known ones are located on the maps by their number. KEY: Number, Name, Capital or chief city, (if shown on map) (modern city name) I – White Wall; MEMPHIS (map) (Mit Rahina) During long periods of Egyptian history this city was capital of the land. Cult center of the god Ptah, accompanying goddess Sakhmet and their son – Nefertum (Memphite Triad). Necropolises of the city are in Saqqara, cult center of the god Sokaris. II – Thigh; Letopolis (Kom Ausim) Capital of the nome. Cult center of the god Hert, worshipped in the form of sitting ram (in other cities – also a bull or lion). The city was also the cult center of Isis and Horus the Old. IIIa – Occident: Hermopolis Parva (map) (Damanhur) Capital of the nome until the 4th century BCE. IIIb – Occident: ALEXANDRIA (map) Capital of Ptolemaic Egypt. IV – South Shield: Sapi-Res Cult center of Sobek, Isis and Amon. Va – North Shield: Sais (map) (San el-Hagar) Capital of the nome. In the Late Period also capital of Egypt. Greek trade center. Temple of goddess Neith. Vb – North Shield: Buto (map) The city was created from the fusion of two others; Pe and Dep. Cult center of the goddess Uto, later also Isis. According to Herodotus in Persian times the famous oracle was here. VI – Hill Bull; Xois (map) (Sakha) Important cult center of Amon-Re. According to Manetho the seat of Dynasty XIX. VIIa – Western Harpoon; Metelis Same as IIIa. City from period of rule of Ramesses II. VIIb – Naucratis ? (map) Ionian colony and harbor. Important trade center since Saitic period, also known for iron production. The city was dedicated to Horus who was presented as the solar disc with wings and two uraeus. VIII – Eastern Harpoon; Pithom (map) (Tell el-Maskhuta) The city raised by Ramesses II, located at the canal joining the Nile with the Bitter Lakes. Capital of the nome and cult center of Atum. According to the Bible, the Israelites were imprisoned here – the Land of Goshen. IX – Andjety; Busiris, or Taposiris Magna (map) (Abusir Bana) Primarily the cult center of Osiris Andjety (or Andjeti), later also of Isis. Necropolis of animals. From here comes the famous pillar Djed, symbolizing the trunk of a cut down tree. X – Black Bull; Athribis (map) (Benha) Cult center of Horus, crocodile Khenty-Khenty and black bull Kemur. Temple raised by Ahmose. The city gained great economical significance under the Romans. XIa – Hesbe Bull; Leontopolis (Tell el-Mokdam) Capital of nome in Ptolemaic Period. Cult center of Horus, worshipped as a lion. XIb – Hesbe Bull; Leontopolis (Tell el-Jahudiya) Cult center of a couple of ancient gods Shu (air) and Tefnet (moisture), presented as lions. XIc – Hesbe Bull; Farbajthos (Horbejt)


XII – Veal and Cow; SEBENNYTHOS (map) (Semanud) Home city of Manetho. Temple of Onuris. Capital of Egypt under Dynasty XXX. XIII – Strong King; Heliopolis (map) (el-Matariya) Solar city, cult center of Re-Horakhte, bull Mnevis, Atum-Re. Politically and religiously one of the most significant centers in the land. Place where the legendary stone Benben was found. XIVa – Eastern Standard; Pelusium (map) (Tell Farama) City located at Pelusian river arm stopover place for the Egyptian army before its Asiatic campaigns. It is presumably the nome’s capital. XIVb – Eastern Standard; Sile (Tell Abu Safa) XV – Ibis; Hermopolis (map) (Tel Baklija, Aszmunein) Cult center of Thot (Hermes Trismegistos) with numerous graveyards for ibises. XVIa – Jumpin Fish; MENDES (map) (Tema el-Amdid) Capital of the nome and cult center of Osiris. Capital of Egypt under Dynasty XXIX. XVIb – Jumping Fish; Tmuis Capital nome and important economical center during the Roman period. XVII – Trone; Diospolis Parva (map) (Tell el-Balamun) Cult center of Horus (Horus of Behet) and Amon-Re

XVIII – Royal Children Superior; BUBASTIS (map) (Tell Basta) Cult center of the goddess Basted with a necropolis of cats. The city was the seat of Libyan Dynasty XXII and at that time also the capital of Egypt. XIXa – Royal Children Inferior; (map) (Tell Nabasha) XIXb – Royal Children Inferior; TANIS, or Awaris (map) (Sen el-Hagar) Capital of Egypt under Dynasty XXI and Libyan Dynasty XXII. Important trade harbor with Asia. Center of Linen. The city was raised by Ramesses II and designed as the administrative center of the land. XX – Sopdu; Soped, or Fakussa (map) (Saft el-Henna, Fakus) Cult center of the god Sopdu and accompanying him the goddesses Khensit and Shesemtet.

NOMES of MIDDLE EGYPT XXIa – Bow; Philae Nile island with the famous sacral comples of Isis and Hathor dated to the 3rd century BCE. XXIb – Bow; Syene (map) (Asuan = Aswan?) One of the most important cities in ancient Egypt with strategic location at the Nubian boundary. Here are buildings that date to the first dynasties. There are famous granite and alabaster quarries.

XXIc – Bow; Ombos (map) (Tukh, or Kom Ombo) Nome capital in the Ptolemaic Period with temples of Sobek and Horus from the 2nd century BCE. XXId – Bow; ELEPHANTINE (map) (Gasirat al-Asuan) Nome capital and boundary bastion erected on the island. Temples of Khnum (Nektanebo II) and Satet (New Kingdom) and the famous Nilometer discovered in 1822. XXII – Trone of Horus; Apollinopolis Magna, or Edfou Mastabas date to the Old Kingdom. Center of worship of Horus; temple is from Ptolemaic Period. XXIIIa – Nekhen; Eileithyiaspolis, or Elkab (map) Nome capital in the times of the New Kingdom. Cult center of the goddesses Nekhbet and Thot with their temples. The temple of Nektanebo is here and the ruined temple of Thutmosis III. There are numerous rock tombs of nobles. XXIIIb – Nekhen; Hierakonpolis (map) (Kom el-Ahmar) Temple of Upper Egypt during the Predynastic Period. First capital of the nome in ? Cult center of Horus and the goddess Nekhbet who is the personification of the white crown. The Temple of Nekhbet was erected by Amenhotep II and extended by Ramesses II. The temple of Thot was built in the times of Thutmosis III. XXIIIc – Nekhen; Latopolis (Esna) Capital of the nome during Nekhen’s domination. Cult center of Neith and Khnum. The temple dates to the Ptolemaic – Roman period. XXIVa – Waset; Diospolis Magna, THEBES (map) (Luxor or Karnak) Capital of Egypt during the New Kingdom. Cult center of Amon. Largest temple complex on the eastern side of the Nile with temples of Amon, Mut and Khonsu (Theban triad). There are also temples of Ptah and Apet (the goddess worshipped as the mother of Osiris). On the western side of the river is the area called Western Thebes, with numerous necropolises, funerary temples and the famous Valleys of Kings and Queens. XXIVb – Waset; (map) (Medinet Habu) Mortuary temple of Ramesses II and small temples of Hatshepshut and Thutmosis III. XXIVc – Waset; Hermonthis (map) (Armant) Capital of the nome up to Dynasty XVII. Temple of Montu worshipped as the bull Bukhis. Has the Bukheum, the necropolis of bulls; Bukhises. XXIVd – Waset; Pathyris, or Aphoditopolis (map) (Gebelein) A Theban district. Cult center of Thot. XXIVe – Waset; Tuphium (map) (Tod) A Theban district. Cult center of Thot. XXVa – Two Falcons; Apollinopolis Parva (Kus) During Roman times named Dioclecianopolis and in Coptic Kus Berbir. XXVb – Two Falcons; Koptos (map) (Kuft) Capital of the nome. Its main deities are Min, Isis and Horus. It was a significant economical center of Upper Egypt that connected the Nile Valley through Wadi Hammamat with the Red Sea (Kosejr). XXVI – Crocodile; Tenthyris (map) (Dendera) Capital of the nome with remainders of the temples of Hathor, Isis and others. The temples of Mammisi (temple of the birth) of Nektanebo and another one date to the Roman Period. XXVII – Sistrum; Diospolis Parva, or Hiw (map) Known as the City of Sistrum. Cult center of the goddess Bat, assimilated with Hathor during the first dynasties. XXVIIIa – Large Land; Osiris, ABYDOS (map) Abydos served as the necropolis for This, the nearby capital of the first dynasties. Became growing center of the cult of Osiris since Dynasty VI and later of Khenty Amentiu. Under Dynasty XIX Seti I erected a temple devoted to his father, Ramesses I, and started to build his own morturary temple. Ramesses II also built a small mortuary temple here. Here were found two famous tables, the monuments being fundamental for assigning the chronology of Egyptian rulers. XXVIIIb – Large Land; Thinis (map) (Girga) Capital of the nome, also of the country during the first dynasties.

NOMES of UPPER EGYPT XXIXa – Min; Khemmis Panopolis (Akhmim) Capital of the nome and one of the most important cities in Upper Egypt. Temple of Min and center of fertility worship. XXIXb – Athribis (Wanina) XXX – Wadjet (cobra); Antaeopolis (map) (Kaw el-Kebir) Cult center of Seth from Tjebu. Home of queen Tiji, wife of Amenhotep III. XXXI – Tjay; Hypselis Capital of the smallest of Egyptian nomes. Temples of Seth and Maat are here. XXXII – Viper; Hypselis Capital of the nome. Cult of the gods Anti and Khnum was developing here in times of Ramesses II. Rock tombs of nobles are here from Dynasty VI with beautiful decorations representing daily life during the Old Kingdom. XXXIII – Nedjefet Khentet; Lycopolis (Asyut) Capital of the nome playing a significant role during the First Intermediate Period and during the conflict of Theban nobles and Herakleopolitan kings. Cult center of Anubis and Wepwawet. Important shipping point located on the east-west caravan route. Rock tombs date to Dynasty XII.

XXXIVa – Nedjefet Pehetet; Cusae (map) (el-Kusiya) Necropolis with tombs of local nobles from the Middle Kingdom. XXXIVb – Nedjefet Pehetet; (map) (el-Amarna) Cult of the gods Thot and Ogdoada near Ashmunein. It is later also center of the cult of Aton. Capital of the country during the Amarna period with temples of the solar cult. XXXVa – Hare; Antinoupolis (map) (Shejkh Abada) Temple erected here by Ramesses II. XXXVb – Hare; Hermopolis Magna (map) (Aszmunein) Capital of the nome. The biggest center of the cult of Thot with his temple dating to the Middle and New Kingdoms. 6 km east, in Tuna el-Gebel, is a necropolis that dates to the Late Period with numerous tombs and chapels, among others of Petosiris, the high prist of Thot during the 4th century BCE. XXXVc – Hare; Hur XXXVIa – Oryx; (el-Minia) Important economic center of contemporary Egypt. XXXVIb – Oryx; (map) (Kom el-Ahmar) Capital of the nome. Cult center of Ramesses II with his temple. There is a chapel in a cave of the lion goddess Pakhet, the daughter of Re. The necropolis holds 19 tombs of nobles, among others a tomb of Nefer-Sekeru, the great royal scribe. XXXVII – Anupu; Cynopolis (map) Temple of Anubis and a necropolis of dogs. XXXVIII – Anty; Ankyronpolis (map) (el-Hiba) There are two temples here; Anti and Sakhmet, erected by Sheshonq. Tombs here date to Dynasty XII. Numerous findings of precious jewelry have been recorded. XXXIX – Wab; Oxyrynkhos (map) (el-Bahnasa) Capital of the nome. Arose to great significance during the Ptolemaic Period. XL – Laurel Superior; HERACLEOPOLIS (map) (Ehnasije el-Medine) Capital of the nome. Became capital of Egypt during Heracleopolitan Period and was a residence of the kings of Dynasties IX and X. Cult center of the ram-god Harsafes whose temple, built by Ramesses II, was discovered in 1892-93 by Neville. During the First Intermediate Period the city gained some importance as its nomarchs became significant rulers. XLIa – Laurel Inferior; (map) (Meidum) At western side of the Nile is a pyramid and funerary complex of king Snofru. XLIb – Laurel Inferior; Crokodilopolis, or Arsinoe (Medinet el-Fayum) Capital of nome. Cult center of Sobek and Hathor. XLIIa – Metenut; (el-Lisht) Capital of Egypt at times during Dynasty XII. Amenemhat I and Senweseret I ordered the building of their pyramid-tombs nearby. Also here is found the mastaba of Senweseret-Ankh, the high priest of Ptah and royal architect. XLIIb – Metenut; Aphroditopolis (map) (Atfih) Cult center of Hathor (Aphrodite during the Greek Period).