Egyptian Nomes > Atef-Khent


Egypt History - Egyptian Chapter Decoration


The ancient Egyptian nome of Atef-Khent, also known as the "Nome of the Beginning of the Harvest," was the 10th nome of Upper Egypt. This nome was particularly significant for its religious, agricultural, and administrative contributions to ancient Egyptian civilization.

Key Features of the Nome of Atef-Khent:

  1. Geographical Location:

    • Atef-Khent was located in Upper Egypt, primarily covering the area around the modern city of Qift (also known as Coptos or Koptos). This nome was situated along the Nile River, benefiting from the fertile lands for agriculture.
    • Its location made it a crucial link between the Nile Valley and the Eastern Desert, as well as routes leading to the Red Sea.
  2. Capital City (Qift):

    • The capital of Atef-Khent was Qift (Coptos), an important religious and trading center. Qift was known for its strategic position as a starting point for expeditions to the Eastern Desert and the Red Sea.
    • Qift was also a significant religious center with temples dedicated to various deities.
  3. Religious Significance:

    • The primary deity worshipped in Atef-Khent was Min, the god of fertility, harvest, and the Eastern Desert. Min was often depicted as a mummified figure with an erect phallus, symbolizing fertility and procreation.
    • Qift had a major temple dedicated to Min, where various religious rituals and festivals were held to honor the god and ensure agricultural fertility.
  4. Economic Importance:

    • Atef-Khent was known for its agricultural productivity, benefiting from the fertile land along the Nile. The nome produced grains, fruits, and vegetables, contributing to the overall economy of ancient Egypt.
    • Qift was also a key trading hub, facilitating trade between the Nile Valley and the Eastern Desert. The city served as a departure point for mining expeditions to the desert and trade expeditions to the Red Sea, where goods from Africa and Asia were imported.
  5. Historical Development:

    • The significance of Atef-Khent dates back to the early dynastic periods of Egypt. Its strategic location and religious importance made it a prominent region throughout ancient Egyptian history.
    • During the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055-1650 BCE) and New Kingdom (c. 1550-1070 BCE), Qift continued to flourish as a religious and economic center. Temples and monuments were constructed and expanded during these periods.
  6. Cultural Contributions:

    • Atef-Khent, particularly Qift, was known for its contributions to Egyptian religion and culture. The temple of Min in Qift was a major religious site, attracting pilgrims and worshippers from across Egypt.
    • The region also played a role in the development of trade networks and expeditions, contributing to the exchange of goods and cultural influences between Egypt and neighboring regions.
  7. Archaeological Discoveries:

    • Excavations in Qift and the surrounding areas have uncovered numerous artifacts, including statues, stelae, and temple remains. These findings highlight the religious and economic importance of the region.
    • The temple of Min, in particular, has yielded significant archaeological discoveries, providing insights into the religious practices and architectural styles of ancient Egypt.
  8. Strategic and Military Importance:

    • Due to its strategic location, Qift was also important for military expeditions. The city served as a staging point for campaigns into the Eastern Desert and beyond.
    • The control of Atef-Khent was vital for maintaining access to valuable resources such as minerals and precious stones from the desert regions.

The nome of Atef-Khent, with its capital Qift, played a crucial role in the religious, economic, and strategic landscape of ancient Egypt. Its association with the god Min and its position as a key trading and expedition hub underscored its importance throughout Egyptian history.


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