|c. 3400 BC–c. 3150 BC|
|Common languages||Ancient Egyptian|
|Religion||Ancient Egyptian religion|
• c. 3400 BC
|Scorpion I (first)|
• c. 3150 BC
|c. 3400 BC|
|c. 3150 BC|
|Today part of||Egypt|
|History of Egypt|
|Periods and dynasties of ancient Egypt|
All years are BC
Upper Egypt (Arabic: صعيد مصر Ṣaʿīd Miṣr, shortened to الصعيد, Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [es.sˤe.ˈʕiːd], locally: [es.sˤɑ.ˈʕiːd]; Coptic: ⲙⲁⲣⲏⲥ, romanized: Mares) is the southern portion of Egypt and is composed of the lands on both sides of the Nile that extend downriver between Nubia and Lower Egypt in the north.
In ancient Egypt, Upper Egypt was known as tꜣ šmꜣw, literally "the Land of Reeds" or "the Sedgeland". It is believed to have been united by the rulers of the supposed Thinite Confederacy who absorbed their rival city states during Naqada III and its unification with Lower Egypt ushered in the Early Dynastic period. Both Upper and Lower Egypt became imbedded within the symbolism of the sovereignty in Ancient Egypt such as the Pschent double crown. Upper Egypt remained as a historical distinction even after the classical period.
Upper Egypt is between the Cataracts of the Nile beyond modern-day Aswan, downriver (northward) to the area of El-Ayait, which places modern-day Cairo in Lower Egypt. The northern (downriver) part of Upper Egypt, between Sohag and El-Ayait, is also known as Middle Egypt.
By approximately 3600 BC, Neolithic Egyptian societies along the Nile had based their culture on the raising of crops and the domestication of animals. Shortly after 3600 BC, Egyptian society began to grow and increase in complexity. A new and distinctive pottery, which was related to the Levantine ceramics, appeared during this time. Extensive use of copper became common during this time. The Mesopotamian process of sun-drying adobe and architectural principles—including the use of the arch and recessed walls for decorative effect—became popular during this time. In Upper Egypt, the predynastic Badari culture was followed by the Naqada culture (Amratian). These groups have been described to be closely related to the Nubian and Northeastern African populations. Upper Egypt is considered to have formed the pre-dominant basis for the cultural development of Pharaonic Egypt and the Proto-dynastic kings emerged from the Naqada region.
Excavations at Hierakonpolis (Upper Egypt) found archaeological evidence of ritual masks similar to those used in locations further south of Egypt and significant amounts of obsidian which were linked to Ethiopian quarry sites.
Bioarchaeologist Nancy Lovell, had stated that there is a sufficient body of morphological evidence on ancient Egyptians to show that "In general, the inhabitants of Upper Egypt and Nubia had the greatest biological affinity to people of the Sahara and more southerly areas" but exhibited local variation in an African context.
Concurrent with these cultural advances, a process of unification of the societies and towns of the upper Nile River, or Upper Egypt, occurred. At the same time the societies of the Nile Delta, or Lower Egypt, also underwent a unification process. Warfare between Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt occurred often. During his reign in Upper Egypt, King Narmer defeated his enemies on the delta and united both of the kingdoms of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt under his single rule, which endured throughout Dynastic Egypt.
For most of Egypt's ancient history, Thebes was the administrative center of Upper Egypt. Upper Egypt was represented by the tall White Crown Hedjet, and its symbols were the flowering lotus and the sedge. Its patron deity, Nekhbet, was depicted by the vulture. After unification of the two kingdoms, the patron deities of both Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt were represented together as the Two Ladies, to protect all of the ancient Egyptians, just as the two crowns became united throughout the dynasties that followed.
In the eleventh century, large numbers of pastoralists, known as Hilalians, fled Upper Egypt and moved westward into Libya and as far as Tunis. 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.
List of rulers of prehistoric Upper Egypt
The following list may not be complete (there are many more of uncertain existence):
|Elephant||End of 4th millennium BC|
|Bull||4th millennium BC|
|Scorpion I||Oldest tomb at Umm el-Qa'ab had scorpion insignia||c. 3200 BC?|
|Iry-Hor||Possibly the immediate predecessor of Ka.||c. 3150 BC?|
|Ka||May be read Sekhen rather than Ka. Possibly the immediate predecessor of Narmer.||c. 3100 BC|
|Scorpion II||Potentially read Serqet; possibly the same person as Narmer.||c. 3150 BC|
|Narmer||The king who combined Upper and Lower Egypt.||c. 3150 BC|
List of nomes
|Number||Ancient Name||Capital||Modern Capital||Translation||God|
|1||Ta-khentit||Abu / Yebu (Elephantine)||Aswan||The Frontier/Land of the Bow||Khnemu|
|2||Wetjes-Hor||Djeba (Apollonopolis Magna)||Edfu||Throne of Horus||Horus-Behdety|
|4||Waset||Niwt-rst / Waset (Thebes)||Karnak||Sceptre||Amun-Ra|
|5||Harawî||Gebtu (Coptos)||Qift||Two Falcons||Min|
|6||Aa-ta||Iunet / Tantere (Tentyra)||Dendera||Crocodile||Hathor|
|7||Seshesh||Seshesh (Diospolis Parva)||Hu||Sistrum||Hathor|
|8||Ta-wer||Tjenu / Abjdu (Thinis / Abydos)||al-Birba||Great Land||Onuris|
|9||Min||Apu / Khen-min (Panopolis)||Akhmim||Min||Min|
|10||Wadjet||Djew-qa / Tjebu (Antaeopolis)||Qaw al-Kebir||Cobra||Hathor|
|11||Set||Shashotep (Hypselis)||Shutb||Set animal||Khnemu|
|12||Tu-ph||Per-Nemty (Hieracon)||At-Atawla||Viper Mountain||Horus|
|13||Atef-Khent||Zawty (Lycopolis)||Asyut||Upper Sycamore and Viper||Apuat|
|14||Atef-Pehu||Qesy (Cusae)||al-Qusiya||Lower Sycamore and Viper||Hathor|
|18||Sep||Teudjoi / Hutnesut (Alabastronopolis)||el-Hiba||Set||Anubis|
|19||Uab||Per-Medjed (Oxyrhynchus)||el-Bahnasa||Two Sceptres||Set|
|20||Atef-Khent||Henen-nesut (Heracleopolis Magna)||Ihnasiyyah al-Madinah||Southern Sycamore||Heryshaf|
|21||Atef-Pehu||Shenakhen / Semenuhor (Crocodilopolis, Arsinoë)||Faiyum||Northern Sycamore||Khnemu|
- Ermann & Grapow, op.cit. Wb 5, 227.4-14
- Ermann & Grapow 1982, Wb 5, 227.4-14.
- Ermann & Grapow (1982), Wb 4, 477.9-11
- Brink, Edwin C. M. van den (1992). The Nile Delta in Transition: 4th.-3rd. Millennium B.C. : Proceedings of the Seminar Held in Cairo, 21.-24. October 1990, at the Netherlands Institute of Archaeology and Arabic Studies. E.C.M. van den Brink. ISBN 978-965-221-015-9.
- Griffith, Francis Llewellyn, A Collection of Hieroglyphs: A Contribution to the History of Egyptian Writing, the Egypt Exploration Fund 1898, p.56
- See list of nomes. Maten (Knife land) is the northernmost nome in Upper Egypt on the right bank, while Atef-Pehu (Northern Sycamore land) is the northernmost on the left bank. Brugsch, Heinrich Karl (2015). A History of Egypt under the Pharaohs. Vol. 1. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 487., originally published in 1876 in German.
- Bard & Shubert (1999), p. 371
- David (1975), p. 149
- Roebuck (1966), p. 51
- Roebuck (1966), pp. 52–53
- Brace, 1993. Clines and clusters
- Zakrzewski, Sonia R. (April 2007). Population continuity or population change: Formation of the ancient Egyptian state. pp. 501–509.
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- Tracy L. Prowse, Nancy C. Lovell. Concordance of cranial and dental morphological traits and evidence for endogamy in ancient Egypt, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 101, Issue 2, October 1996, Pages: 237-246
- Godde, Kane. "A biological perspective of the relationship between Egypt, Nubia, and the Near East during the Predynastic period (2020)". Retrieved 16 March 2022.
- The Cambridge history of Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975–1986. pp. 500–509. ISBN 9780521222150.
- Davies, W. V. (1998). Egypt uncovered. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang. pp. 5–87. ISBN 1556708181.
- Lovell, Nancy C. (1999). "Egyptians, physical anthropology of". In Bard, Kathryn A.; Shubert, Steven Blake (eds.). Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt. London. pp. 328–331. ISBN 0415185890.
- Roebuck (1966), p. 53
- Chauveau (2000), p. 68
- Ballais (2000), p. 133
- Ballais (2000), p. 134
- Brice (1981), p. 299
- Rice 1999, p. 86.
- Wilkinson 1999, p. 57f.
- Shaw 2000, p. 196.
- Grajetzki (2006), pp. 109–111
- Ballais, Jean-Louis (2000). "Conquests and land degradation in the eastern Maghreb". In Graeme Barker; David Gilbertson (eds.). Sahara and Sahel. The Archaeology of Drylands: Living at the Margin. Vol. 1, Part III. London: Routledge. pp. 125–136. ISBN 978-0-415-23001-8.
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- Media related to Upper Egyptat Wikimedia Commons