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Akhet - The Horizon

The Provinces of Ancient Egypt
Sepats (Nomes) & their Main Cities

A map of Upper Egypt with sepat borders added.

A map of Lower Egypt with sepat borders added.

Upper Egypt

Note: This is a list over the ancient Egyptian administrative provinces, which in Greek were called 'Nome', and in the ancient tongue 'Sepat'.

City names in bold signifies sepat capital. Of course this is not a complete list of the cities and towns of ancient Egypt, there are many yet which could be added.

The column stating "Deity on the White Chapel" merits a comment. The White Chapel is a bark shrine, built by Senwosret I and which is reknown for its exquisite reliefs. It stands renovated in the Open Air Museum at Karnak. Along its bottom runs a frieze depicting all the Sepat deities and ensigns from that time period (1971 - 1926 b.c.). Many of these deties are not found anywhere else than here. However, a great many of the entries are missing from the Lower Egypt part of the register.

Exact borders of the sepats is an issue for discussion, sources differ and borders as well as capitals shifted throughout time, often because the course of the water of the Nile changed. However, probably already in the beginning of the Dynastic times, there were sepats whose boundaries are mostly the same as in later times. These were probably fewer in number and attached to religious centra such as Abydos, Elephantine, Edfu, Naqada.

For most of Egyptian history, at least the dynastic period, there were 22 sepats, or provinces, in Upper Egypt, but Lower Egypt was not divided into 20 sepats until the Late Period. Their purpose was to support administration of the country.

Each one of these sepats had their own ensign, which was carried on a standard in processions and the like. On temples in ancient Egypt these sepats were shown in relief running along the bottom of walls, as androgynous deities, with the ensign on top of their heads. They were depicted carrying offerings of various kind into the temple, showing the gifts their areas could produce for the benefit of the temple and the gods therein. The sepats of Upper Egypt was normally shown on the southern temple walls while the Lower Egypt sepats were depicted on the northern walls.

With this as a background, it might be interesting to note that when you check different sources for sepat deities, both textual and temple inscriptions, you will encounter varying info, where it is not outright missing for some reason. This should not come as a surprize, as even in a society as steeped in tradition as ancient Egypt, still changes were bound to happen over its long history. However, the sepat deities were often superceded by other, more widely reknown deities (sometimes they were identical). Sometimes, as in the case of Amun at Waset, a sepat or local deity rose to nationwide prominence.

Sepat Title & Ensign Ancient Egyptian Greek name
Modern name
Deities, archaeological remains etc. Deity on the White Chapel.

1: Ta-Sety
P'aaleq Philae
Temples & chapels to
Isis, Hathor, Arensnuphis, Mandulis, Imhotep,
Abu Elephantine
Temples to Khnum, Satet, Anuket.
Chapel to governor Hekayib, Nilometer.
Swenet Syene
Ptolemaic temple to Isis
Granite quarries. Rock-cut tombs from OK to NK. , unfinished obelisk.
Pa-Sebek Ombos
Kom Ombo
Joint temple of Sobek and Horus the Elder, chapel of Hathor.

2: Throne of Horus
Djeba Apollinopolis- Magna
Temple to Horus of Behedet, chapels to various other deities.
Town site of most periods, tombs from Old to New Kingdom.
Horus of Behdet

3: Shrine
Nekhen Hierakonpolis
Kom el-Ahmar
Deity:Horus of Nekhen, Khnum, Neith
Temple & town remains from all periods. Pre-dynastic settlements and cemeteries.
Nekhbet, Horus of Nekhen, Wenu
Nekheb Eileithyiaspolis
Temple of Nekhbet, temples of Hathor, Khnum, Menhyt, Seshemet.
Rock-cut 18-dyn. tombs.
Iunyt/Ta-Senet Latopolis
Greco-Roman temple of Khnum.
Cemeteries from MK onwards.

4: Sceptre
Per-Hathor/Inerty Aphroditopolis/Pathyris
Deities: Montu, Amun, Mut, Khonsu, Buchis, Sobek of Sumenu.Temple of Hathor
tombs of 1st Intermediate.
Djerty Tuphium
Temple of Montu from 4th Dyn. onwards.
Iuny Hermonthis
Temple of Montu, 11th Dyn. and later.
Bull cemetery.
Waset Thebes/Diospolis-Magna
Karnak, Luxor, West Bank
Temple complex to Amun, Mut, Montu, Khonsu & various other deities.
Royal Mortuary temples, Ramesseum, Memnon colossi, rock-cut royal and private tombs, temple of Hatshepsut.

5: Two Falcons
Nubt/Nebyet Ombos
Deities: Min of Gebtu, Set of Nebyet.
Predynastic and early dynastic cemeteries, mastaba tombs, pyramid of Tukh.
Min of Gebtu
Gesy Apollinopolis-Parva
Remains of Ptolemaic temple of Haroeris (Horus the Elder) and Heket.
Early cemeteries.
Gebtu Koptos
Remains of temple of Min from MK, small Greco-roman temple to Isis and Min at el-Qal'a.
Predyn. cemeteries (Naqada), Greek & Roman remains.

Iunet Tentyris
Temple of Hathor, small temple of probably Horus of Edfu,
necropolis & animal burials.
Hathor of Iunet, Iq

7: Sistrum
Hut-Sekhem Diospolis-Parwa
Deity: Bat.
Cemeteries of all periods, animal necropolis, Greco-Roman temples.

8: Great Land
Abedjou Abydos
el-Araba, el Madfuna
Deities: Khent-Amentiu, , Onuris, Wesir.
Seti IŽs temple with chapels to Ptah, Ra-Horakhte, Amun-Re, Wesir, Aset, Heru, Nefertem-Sokar.
The King-list of Abedjou. The Osireion. Temple of Ramesses II. Cenotaphs. Pre- & Early Dynastic tombs & remains of settlement.
Tjeny Thinis
Mythical location of ancient capital

9: Min

Khemmis Panopolis
Rock chapel of Min, remians of Greco-Roman temples of Min & Repyt.
Rock-cut tombs ov various periods.
Hut-Repyt Athribis
Rock-cut tombs MK period. Ptolemaic temples & tombs.

10: Cobra
Tjebu/Djew-qa Antaeopolis
Qaw el-Kebir
Deites: Set of Tjebu, Mihos, Nemtywy.
12th Dyn. tombs.
Bau ( Seru?)

11: Set
Shashotep Apotheke
Deity: Set.
Smallest sepat, west bank around Deir Rifa.
Horus, Seth

12: Viper Mount
Per-Nemty Hierakon
Deity: Nemty (hawkgod).
Tombs of 6th Dyn. nomarchs.

13: Upper Sycamore and Viper
Zawty Lykopolis
Deity: Wepwawet, Anubis.
Tombs of 1st Intermediate and MK.

14: Lower Sycamore and Viper
Qis Cusae
Deity: Hathor name lost , maybe Hathor

15: Hare
Khmun Hermopolis-Magna
Deities: Djehuti of Hermopolis, the Ogdoad, Aten. Aha (early name for Bes),
Akhet-Aten el-Amarna Deity: The Aten.
Remains of Akhet-Aten, royal tomb, rock-cut tombs.

16: Oryx
Deities: Pakhet, Khnum.
Remains of a 3rd Dyn. pyramid.
Horus of Hebenu

17: Jackal
Hardai(?) - Deity: Anubis.
Temple known only from ancient text references, not located.
Yinepu (Anubis) of Henu

Teudjoi Ankyrononpolis
Deity: Nemty (former Anti),(hawkgod).
Temple to Amun
Hutnesut Sharuna Temple of Horus-Dunanwy?.
Ptolemaic blocks

19: Two Sceptres
Per-Medjed Oxyrhynchus
Deities: Set, cult of the Mormyrus fish.
Greco-Roman town, source of thousands of Greek Papyrii.

20: Upper Laurels (Southern Sycamore)
Henen-nesut Herakleopolis-Magna
Ihnasya el-Medina
Temple of Heryshef, 12th Dyn & later.
Tomb of Ramesses II at Kom-el-Aqarib
Tombs from 1st intermediate to Greco-Roman period at Sidmant el-Gebel.

21: Lower Laurels (Northern Sycamore)
Shedyet, She-resy
Greek Crocodilopolis, Arsinoe, modern Medinet al Fayum Horus, Neper. Renenutet.
Cult centre of Sobek. Nilometer
Shenakhen/Semenuhor?  Greek Akanthon, modern Kafr Ammar Text signs of cult of Khnum at Shenakhen, Osiris at Semenuhor.
3 Dyn. pyramids.

22: The Knife
Itj-Tawy, Tepihu Aphroditopolis
Deity: Hathor, Sobek of the Southern Lake.
The White Chapel has indications that The Faiyum (anc. 'Ta-She, She-resy') belonged to this sepat.
Temples & settlements from mostly Greco-Roman times.
Neith, Sobek of the Southern Lake

Lower Egypt

Lower Egypt is tricky as there are sources with differing opinions on some ancient Egyptian place names and some cities are placed in different sepats too. Mainly, LE sepats were established in the Late Period, though finds of course go back to earlier periods.

Sepat Title Ancient Egyptian Greek
Deities, archaeological remains etc. Deity on the White Chapel

1: White Wall
Ineb-hedj/Men-Nefer Memphis
Mit Rahina
Deities: Ptah, Sokar, Apis
Temple of Ptah, Temple to Hathor, several smaller temples, embalming house of Apis bull.
Tombs of 22nd Dyn. High Priests of Memphis, palace of Merneptah.
Horus before Inebhedj' (?)

2: Foreleg
Khem Letopolis
Deities: Horus of Letopolis,Kherty (netherworld deity).
Monuments from Late Period.
Khentykhem ('foremost of Khem')

3: West
Imu Kom el-Hisn Deities: Hathor
MK temple of Sekhmet-Hathor
Cemeteries from MK and NK.
Hepy of Hut-Ihyt
Raqote Alexandria
Deities: Isis, Sarapis
Ptolemaic and Roman remains.

4: Southern Shield
Area of modern Tanta Tanta Deities: Neith, Sobek.
Few archaeological explorations done.
Neit and Sobek

5: Northern Shield
Zau Sais
Sa el-Hagar
Deity: Neith
Remains of the temple of Neith.
Sau ('of Sais')

6: Mountain Bull
Khasu Xois
Deity: Re.
Temple of Re not excavated.
Per-Wadjet/Edjo Buto
Tell el-Farain
Some sources place Buto in th 5th Sepat.
Deity: Wadjet.
Remains of two towns and one temple enclosure.
Mythical 'Pe and Dep', the "Twin cities" correspondent with Nekhen and Nekheb in Upper Egypt.e

7: Western Harpoon
Area of modern Damanhur Hermopolis Parva
Few archaeological excavations done.
'harpoon with cord' inscribed across provinces 7 and 8

8: Eastern Harpoon
Tjeku/Per Atum(?) Pithom?
Tell el-Maskhuta
Deity: Atum of Tell el-Maskhuta.
Foundations and block of temple of Atum. Fragment of a sistrum invoking Atum and Horus Sematawy.
'harpoon with cord' inscribed across provinces 7 and 8
9: Andjety Djedu Busiris
Abu Sir Bana
Deity:Osiris of Djedu
Foundations of temple of Horus KhentKhety
Animal necropolis.
Osiris of Djedu

10: Black Ox
Hut-Hery-ib Athribis
Tell Atrib
Deity: Horus
Foundations of temple of Isis and Osiris
Temple of Amasis, Greco-Roman town, temple and necropolis.
no entry

11: Ox-count
Taremu/Nay-ta-hut Leontopolis
Tell -el-Muqdam
Deities: Shu, Tefnut, Mihos of Leontopolis.
Remains of the temple of Mihos. Tomb of Queen Kamama.
no entry

12: Calf and Cow
Tjebnetjer Sebenntyos
Deity: Inhert(Gr. Onuris)
Late Period foundation block of Inhert-Shu.
no entry
Hebyt Behbet el-Hagar Deity: Isis
Site of one of the most important shrines to Isis, a pendant in Lower Egypt to Philae in Upper Egypt.
Remians of the temple of Isis, Ptolemaic Period.

13: Prospering Sceptre
Iunu Heliopolis
el-Matariya (Cairo outskirts)
Deities: Atum, Iusaas & Mnevis of Heliopolis.
Temple of Re with precint and structures from all periods, obelisk of Senwosret, tombs of High Priests from 5th Dyn. and other tombs.
Isis, Bast (of) Su
These deities and the place-name Su belong to the part of province 13 later made into a separate province 18

14: Foremost of the East
Tjaru Sile
Tell Abu Seifa
Deity: Set.
Blocks from temple of Horus of Mesen.
Horus? (of?) [He]benu' (or '(of) Benu')
Pi-Ramesse Quantir Deity: Set
Remains of temple of Set, of Ptah, of Amun, of mud-brick palace, military barracks, stables & workshops.
Avaris Tell el-Daba Deity: Set.
Probable site of the Hyksos capital Avaris. Palace remains with Minoan wallpaintings for the Hyksos period. Remains of settlements from 1st to 2nd Intermediate and later the Ramesside period.

15: Ibis
Weprehwy(?)/BaŽkh Hermopolis-Parva
Deity: Djehuty of northern Hermopolis.
Outlines of themple of Djehuty, not excavated. Late Period shrine of Djehuty and other blocks.
no entry

16: Fish
Djedet/Per-baneb-djedet Mendes
Tell el Rub'a
Deities: Banebdjedet, Hatmehyt
Foundations of temple of Bandebdjedet, Late Period red 8 m high granite naos, mastaba tombs from OK.
'...(of) Djedet'

17: Behdet
Sma-Behdet Diospolis Inferior
Deities:Horus of Behdet.
Vast temple complex with at least three temples, Amun(?) and fort, Late Period.
no entry

18: Prince of the South
Per-Bast Bubastis
Tell Basta.
Deities: Bast, Mihos.
Temple of Bast and other deities.
Smaller temples of 6th, 12th,18th, 22nd Dyn & Greco-Roman Period.
Cat cemeteries.
Bast (see Sepat 13)

19: Prince of the North
Imet Tell Nabasha Deity: Wadjet of Nabasha.
Temple enclosure of Wadjet, one temple of Ramessid Period, a smaller one by Amasis. Greco-Roman town, Late Period cemetery.
no entry
Djanet Tanis
San el-Hagar
Temple enclosure of Amun and others. Precinct of Mut.
Royal tombs of 21st and 22nd Dynasties.
no entry
20: Plumed Falcon of Sopedu Per-Sopdu Saft el-Hinna Deity: Sopdu (falcon deity).
Remains of the enclosure walls of the temple of Sopdu and Late Period naos.

A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses - George Hart
Cultural Atlas of Ancient Egypt - John Baines & Jaromir Malek
The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt - Richard H. Wilkinson
Digital Egypt for Universities.


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