Thebes was the capital of Egypt during the period of the New Kingdom (c.1570-c.1069 BCE) and became an important center of worship of the god Amun (also known as Amon or Amen, a combination of the earlier gods Atum and Ra). Its sacred name was P-Amen or Pa-Amen meaning "the abode of Amen". It was also known to the Egyptians as Wase or Wo'se (the city) and Usast or Waset (the southern city) and was built on either side of the Nile River with the main city on the east bank and the vast necropolis on the west.

This position on the river is famously referenced in the biblical book of Nahum 3:8, when the prophet warns Nineveh of its coming destruction, claiming that not even the great Thebes "situated among rivers, the waters round about it" was safe from the wrath of God. The biblical name for the city is No-Amon or No (Ezekial 30:14,16, Jeremiah 46:25, Nahum 3:8) referencing its fame as a cult center for Amon (though this name is also associated with the city of Xois in Lower Egypt). The Greeks called it Thebai from the Coptic Greek Ta-opet (the name of the great Karnak Temple) which became 'Thebes' - the name by which it is remembered.

Timeline Edit

  • c. 3200 BCE

Thebes is prominent religious center dedicated to the worship of Amon.

  • c. 2061 BCE - c. 2010 BCE

Life of Theban noble Mentuhotep II of Thebes.

  • 2055 BCE

Mentuhotep II conquers rival princes, unites Egypt with Thebes as capital.

  • c. 1345 BCE

Akhenaten moves capital of Egypt from Thebes to Akhetaten, his custom-built city.

  • c. 1334 BCE

Tutankhamun returns capital to Thebes.

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