Tuna el-Gebel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Coordinates: 27°44′18″N 30°42′16″E / 27.73833°N 30.70444°E / 27.73833; 30.70444

Tuna el-Gebel
تونة الجبل
Tuna el-Gebel تونة الجبل is located in Egypt
Tuna el-Gebel تونة الجبل
Tuna el-Gebel
تونة الجبل
Location in Egypt
Coordinates: 27°44′18″N 30°42′16″E / 27.73833°N 30.70444°E / 27.73833; 30.70444
Country Egypt
GovernorateMinya Governorate
Time zoneUTC+2 (EST)

Tuna el-Gebel (Arabic: تونة الجبل‎, Coptic: ⲑⲱⲛⲓ[1]) was the necropolis of Khmun (Hermopolis Magna). It is located in Al Minya Governorate in Middle Egypt.

Boundary Stelae[edit]

The oldest monument in the area is one of the Boundary Stelae of Akhenaten, up in the cliffs, protected by a glass 'booth'. This makes it quite difficult to see properly, but prevents further erosion.

Detail of Stela A


Later catacombs were dug under the necropolis; these were used to store thousands of sacred mummies of falcons, baboons and ibises.

Tomb of Petosiris[edit]

Near to the modern entrance to the catacombs is the tomb of the 4th century high priest Petosiris. This sepulchre is constructed to look like a temple, resembling Dendera. The outside is decorated in typical Late Period style, whereas the outer court is ornamented in a Greek style. The tomb was constructed around the time of the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great, and seems to have been decorated like this to curry favour with the new Ptolemaic rulers.

Tomb and Chapel of Isadora[edit]

Isadora was a wealthy and beautiful young woman living in Hermopolis during the time when the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (AD 138–161) ruled over Ægyptus. She fell in love with a young soldier from Antinopolis (current Sheikh ‘Ibada), and they wanted to get married. However, her father refused, so the young couple decided to elope. Unfortunately, Isadora drowned while crossing the Nile. Her body was mummified, and her father built an elaborate tomb for her, featuring a poem of 10 lines inscribed in Greek elegiac couplets. At some time after her death, a cult developed around her tomb. Isadora's mummified remains are still present, encased in glass, in her mausoleum—a prominent building at Tuna el-Gebel. The poem reads as follows:[2]

Ὄντως αἱ Νύμφαι σοι ἐτεκτήναντ', Ἰσιδώρα,
Νύμφαι τῶν ὑδάτων θυγατέρες, θάλαμον.
Πρεσβυτάτη Νίλοιο θυγατρῶν ἤρξατο, Νίλῳ
Κόγχον τευξαμένη βένθεσιν οἷον ἔχει,
Πατρὸς ἐνὶμ μεγάροισι θεητῆι οἷον ἰδέσθαι,
Κρηναία δὲ Ὕλα σύνγαμος ἁρπαγίμου
Κείονας ἀμφοτέρωθεν, ἅτε σπέος, ἧχι καὶ αὐτὴ
Πῆχυν ἄστυλον βαλτ(ο)φόρον κατέχει·
Κρεινάμεναι δ' ἄρα χῶρον Ὀρειάδες ἱδρύσαντο
Ἱερὸν ὡς αὑτῶν μηδὲν ἀφαυρὸν ἔχῃς.

A dire le vrai, ce sont les Nymphes, Les Nymphes filles des eaux,
qui t'ont élevé, o Isidôra, cette chambre.
L'aînée des filles du Nil a commencé, en façonnant
pour le Nil une conque, telle qu'il en possède en ses profondeurs,
telle qu'un spectateur peut la voir dans le palais de son père,
et Krènaia qui ravit Hylas pour en faire son époux [a façonné]
les deux colonnes qui l'encadrent, formant comme une grotte où, elle aussi,
soutient la partie courbe dépourvue de colonne et ornée d'étoiles.
Puis, ayant choisi un emplacement, Les Oreiades ont fondé
un temple qui ne fût en rien inférieur au leur.


  1. ^ https://st-takla.org/books/pauline-todary/coptic-language/egyptian.html
  2. ^ Paul Graindor, "Inscriptions de la nécropole de Touna el-Ghebel (Hermoupolis) [avec 6 planches]," Bulletin de l'Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale 32 (1932), p. 101

Media related to Tuna el-Gebel at Wikimedia Commons