Upper Egypt

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Map of Lower and Upper Egypt.

Upper Egypt (Arabic: صعيد مصرSaʿīd Miṣr, shortened to الصعيد es-Ṣeʿīd/es-Ṣaʿīd  pronounced [es.sˤe.ˈʕiːd, es.sˤɑ.ˈʕiːd]) is the strip of land, on both sides of the Nile valley, that extends between Nubia, and downriver (northwards) to Lower Egypt.

Geography[edit]

Upper Egypt is between the Cataracts of the Nile above modern-day Aswan, downriver (northwards) to the area between Dahshur and El-Ayait,[citation needed] which is south of modern-day Cairo. The northern (downriver) part of Upper Egypt, between Sohag and El-Ayait, is also known as Middle Egypt.

In Arabic, inhabitants of Upper Egypt are known as Sa'idis and they generally speak Sa'idi Arabic.

In the Pharaonic times, Upper Egypt was known as Ta Shemau[1] which means "the land of reeds."[2] It was divided into twenty-two districts called nomes.[3] The first nome was roughly where modern-day Aswan is and the twenty-second was at modern Atfih (Aphroditopolis), just to the south of Cairo.

History[edit]

Predynastic Egypt[edit]

The main city of predynastic Upper Egypt was Nekhen (Hierakonpolis in Greek),[4] whose patron deity was the vulture goddess Nekhbet.[5]

Dynastic Egypt[edit]

For most of pharaonic Egypt's history, Thebes was the administrative center of Upper Egypt. After its devastation by the Assyrians, its importance declined. Under the Ptolemies, Ptolemais Hermiou took over the role of Upper Egypt's capital city.[6] Upper Egypt was represented by the tall White Crown Hedjet, and its symbols were the flowering lotus and the sedge.

Medieval Egypt[edit]

In the 11th century, large numbers of pastoralists, known as Hilalians, fled Upper Egypt and moved westward into Libya and as far as Tunis.[7] It is believed that degraded grazing conditions in Upper Egypt associated with the beginning of the Medieval Warm Period, were the root cause of the migration.[8]

20th-century Egypt[edit]

In the 20th-century Egypt, the title Prince of the Sa'id (meaning Prince of Upper Egypt) was used by the heir apparent to the Egyptian throne.[9]

Although the Egyptian monarchy was abolished in 1953, the title continues to be used by Muhammad Ali and Hereditary Chief, Sheikh Beja Khawr al`allaqi, Prince of Sa'id.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ermann & Grapow, op.cit. Wb 5, 227.4-14
  2. ^ Ermann & Grapow, op.cit. Wb 4, 477.9-11
  3. ^ The Encyclopedia Americana Grolier Incorporated, 1988, p.34
  4. ^ Bard, op. cit., p.371
  5. ^ David, op.cit., p.149
  6. ^ Chauveau, op.cit., p.68
  7. ^ Ballais, Jean-Louis (2000) "Chapter 7: Conquests and land degradation in the eastern Maghreb" p. 133 In Barker, Graeme and Gilbertson, David (2000) The Archaeology of Drylands: Living at the Margin Routledge, London, Volume 1, Part III - Sahara and Sahel, pp. 125-136, ISBN 978-0-415-23001-8
  8. ^ Ballais, Jean-Louis (2000) "Chapter 7: Conquests and land degradation in the eastern Maghreb" p. 134 In Barker, Graeme and Gilbertson, David (2000) The Archaeology of Drylands: Living at the Margin Routledge, London, Volume 1, Part III - Sahara and Sahel, pp. 125-136, ISBN 978-0-415-23001-8
  9. ^ The title was first used by Prince Farouk, the son and heir of King Fouad I. Prince Farouk was officially named Prince of the Sa'id on 12 December 1933.Brice, William Charles (1981). An Historical Atlas of Islam. Leiden: BRILL. p. 299. ISBN 90-04-06116-9. OCLC 9194288. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bard, Katheryn A. and Shubert, Steven Blake (1999) Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt Routledge, London, ISBN 0-415-18589-0
  • Chauveau, Michel (2000) Egypt in the Age of Cleopatra: History and Society Under the Ptolemies Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, ISBN 0-8014-3597-8
  • David, Ann Rosalie (1975) The Egyptian Kingdoms Elsevier Phaidon, London, OCLC 2122106
  • Edel, Elmar (1961) Zu den Inschriften auf den Jahreszeitenreliefs der "Weltkammer" aus dem Sonnenheiligtum des Niuserre Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen, OCLC 309958651, in German
  • Ermann, Johann Peter Adolf and Grapow, Hermann (1982) Wörterbuch der Ägyptischen Sprache Akademie, Berlin, ISBN 3-05-002263-9, in German