Thebes


Thebes
   Greek name for the Egyptian city of Waset in the fourth nome of Upper Egypt. Also known as Diospolis Magna. The early history of the city is obscure, but during the First Intermediate Period, its rulers took the royal title. It became the capital of Egypt when Mentuhotep I reunited Egypt under Dynasty 11. While the rulers of Dynasty 12 were southerners, they moved the capital to Itjtawy in the north, although Thebes remained the most important city in the south. It regained its prominent position at the end of the Second Intermediate Period when the princes of Thebes led the fight against the Hyksosrulers in the north and reunited Egypt under Dynasty 18. Its god, Amun, was elevated to the position of chief god of Egypt, and his temple at Karnak was enlarged and richly endowed. A second major temple was built at Luxor within the city. The royal tombs from Dynasty 18 to Dynasty 20 were constructed on the west bank of the Nile opposite the city in the Valley of the Kings. The queens, princesses, and some princes were buried in the Valley of the Queens, while the tombs of the officials were located in the nearby cliffs. Also on the west bank near the edge of cultivation such mortuary temples of the kings as Deir el-Bahri, the Ramesseum, and Medinet Habu were constructed.
   During Dynasty 19, the king began to reside more frequently in the north, but the city remained the main religious capital and southern administrative center. It was often known simply asniwt, the city. Beginning at the end of Dynasty 20, Thebes and the southern region became increasingly independent of central rule under the high priests of Amun. The city was sacked during the Assyrian invasion of 666 BC and never recovered its prominence. It remained a bastion of Egyptian nationalism during the Ptolemaic Period and was held by various rebel kings. Following the Roman conquest, Thebes became a tourist center. After the adoption of Christianity, its temples were converted into churches or desecrated and abandoned, and it reverted to a minor provincial town after the Arabic conquest. The temples and tombs have been cleared and excavated during modern times, but few remains of the living quarters of the ancient city have been located.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.