Egyptian Nomes > Atef-Pehu


Egypt History - Egyptian Chapter Decoration


The ancient Egyptian nome of Atef-Pehu, known in Greek as Lycopolis, was the thirteenth nome of Upper Egypt. This nome was significant for its administrative, religious, and cultural contributions to ancient Egyptian civilization.

Key Features of the Nome of Atef-Pehu (Lycopolis):

  1. Geographical Location:

    • The nome of Atef-Pehu was located in Upper Egypt, covering the region around the modern city of Asyut. Asyut served as the capital of this nome.
    • This region was strategically situated along the Nile, making it a vital link between northern and southern Egypt.
  2. Capital City (Asyut):

    • Asyut, the capital of Atef-Pehu, was one of the most important cities in ancient Egypt. It was a major administrative center, known for its wealth, strategic location, and significant role in politics and trade.
    • The city's name, Asyut, means "Guardian" or "Protector," reflecting its strategic importance.
  3. Religious Significance:

    • The primary deity worshipped in Atef-Pehu was Wepwawet (or Upuaut), a war god often depicted as a wolf or a man with a wolf's head. Wepwawet was considered a "Opener of the Ways," a guide for the dead in the afterlife and a protector of the pharaoh in battle.
    • Asyut had numerous temples and shrines dedicated to Wepwawet and other local deities. The city was a significant religious center where various rituals and festivals were conducted.
  4. Economic Importance:

    • The fertile land along the Nile in Atef-Pehu supported extensive agricultural activities, including the cultivation of grains, fruits, and vegetables. This agricultural wealth contributed to the region's economic stability.
    • Asyut was also a crucial trade hub, facilitating the exchange of goods between Upper and Lower Egypt and with neighboring regions.
  5. Historical Development:

    • During the Old Kingdom (c. 2686-2181 BCE), Atef-Pehu was already an important administrative region. The nome's significance continued to grow through the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055-1650 BCE) and the New Kingdom (c. 1550-1070 BCE).
    • In the First Intermediate Period (c. 2181-2055 BCE), Asyut became a center of power for local rulers who played crucial roles in the political struggles of the time. The city's leaders were influential in the eventual reunification of Egypt under the Theban rulers.
  6. Cultural Contributions:

    • Asyut was known for its rich cultural life, including art, literature, and education. The city's scribes and scholars contributed to the preservation and transmission of knowledge.
    • The tombs of Asyut, especially those of the nomarchs and local elites, are renowned for their inscriptions and reliefs that provide valuable insights into the social, political, and religious life of the region.
  7. Archaeological Discoveries:

    • Excavations in Asyut have uncovered numerous artifacts, including tombs, statues, stelae, and inscriptions. These findings highlight the city's importance and its role in ancient Egyptian history.
    • The tombs of the First Intermediate Period and Middle Kingdom, in particular, are notable for their detailed inscriptions and artwork, which offer glimpses into the lives and beliefs of the ancient inhabitants.

The nome of Atef-Pehu, with its capital Asyut, was a pivotal region in Upper Egypt. Its strategic location, economic prosperity, religious significance, and cultural contributions made it an essential part of ancient Egyptian civilization.


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