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Nome of Egypt
Wenet
"Hare"
UEN15
Region Upper Egypt
Capital Hermopolis Magna
Other sites Amarna, Antinoöpolis, Theodosioupolis,
Pesla, Pentalis, Kirka, Micholis, Tlethmis,
el-Sheikh Sa'id, Deir el-Bersha,
Tuna el-Gebel
Main deities Thoth

Wenet (transliteration: wn.t, meaning: "Hare") was the fifteenth nome of Upper Egypt. It was also known as the Hermopolite nome to the Greco-Romans. The nome's capital city was Hermopolis Magna at the modern site of El-Ashmunein. It lasted from pre-dynastic and through the Muslim conquests. It was usually bordered to the north by the Mahedj (Oryx) nome and to the south by the Nedjefet-Pehut (Koussite) nome.

History[]

Wenet likely began as a city state in the pre-dynastic periods and would be incorporated at the beginning of the nome system.[1] This can be seen recorded on the Menkaure triads created during the 4th dynasty, though it is possible that Wenet was established prior to that.[2] The quarries at Hatnub in Wenet have also been attested to being used as early as the reigns of Sneferu and Khufu and continued to be used into the late Roman period.[3] During the Old Kingdom, the nomarchs of this nome were buried at el-Sheikh Sa'id,[4] however during the First Intermediate Period, nomarchs would be buried at Deir el-Bersha.[5]

During the First Intermediate Period, the Heracleopolite 9th and 10th Dynasties likely were in control of Wenet, but it is uncertain exactly when this began. It can be seen from inscriptions from the Wenet Nomarch Djehutynakht II who acknowledges Meryhathor, a Heracleopolite ruler, as pharaoh.[6] This is supported by graffiti at Hatnub which talks about a rebellion in the Hare nome against the Heracleopolites prior to the Theban war.[7]

Following the reunification of Egypt in the Middle Kingdom, many nomarchs lost significant power due to their involvement in the First Intermediate Period and their threat towards centralized authority. Inscriptions from the White Chapel of Senusret I show a survey done of the nomes done during the 12th Dynasty including Wenet, though the inscription is partially damaged.[8] From this, Wenet is estimated to be about 345 square kilometers[9] and roughly 45.6 kilometers in length[10] during this time. It should be noted that nome borders changed often and this will not be consistent for all of Egyptian history.

During the Second Intermediate Period, it was noted on the Stela of Kamose that Apophis "has possession of Hermopolis" and that the Asiatics have pushed "as far as Cusae",[11] showing that Hermopolis Magna was under Hyksos control for part of this period. It has been hypothesized by Dr. Kim Ryholt that a dynasty existed at Abydos and that they are thought to have territory that extended from Hu in the south to Beni Hasan in the north. This is due to an inscription found written by the Abydosian leader Wepwawetemsaf that was found at the tomb of Oryx nomarch Amenemhat.[12]

In the New Kingdom, the burials at Deir el-Bersha became less popular in favor of the Tuna El-Gebel located to the west of Hermopolis Magna.[13] During the Amarna Period, the capital was moved to the newly created site of Akhetaten located on the Eastern banks of the Nile in Wenet, however, not long after the death of Akhenaten, the city would be mostly abandoned.[14]

It is possible that during the Third Intermediate Period that Wenet became a local city state during the administrative breakdown, but this period is notoriously lacking historical detail.[13] The borders for this city state have been theorized to have extended North to the city of el-Hiba which would divide Wenet and Nehet-Khent.[13][15] This would mean that Wenet could have controlled the entirety of the Mahedj and Anpu nomes as well as either all of or parts of the Wabwy and Nemty nomes. To the south, the border likely remained unchanged with the Nedjefet-Pehut nome as it is believed that Nimlot, the ruler of Wenet, was installed by the Theban kings who controlled Nedjefet-Pehut.[16] Nimlot initially allied himself with the Nubian pharaoh Piye but later changed his position and joined the coalition led by Tefnakht against the Nubian king. This angered Piye and during his conquest of Upper Egypt commemorates a stela showcasing his victories in Middle Egypt including against Wenet and Nimlot.[11]

Talbert2000HermopoliteAntinoiteNomeMap

Hermopolite (left) and Antinoite (right) nomes during the Roman period. Courtesy RJA Talbert[17].

In the Ptolemaic period, it is certain that Mahedj nome has been incorporated in Wenet, although it is uncertain at what point this took place. One possibility is that this combination occurred during the Second intermediate period[10], however it is possible it occurred later than this. During this time, Nedjefet-Pehut also becomes a part of Wenet, extending the nome's southern border to somewhere north of Manfalut.[18][19] During this period of Greek administration, nomes were split into different toparchies within the nomes. Not all are known, but Wenet is believed to have had at least the Leykopurgites and Mochites for certain.[20]

Antinoite nome[]

In the year 276 A.D. during Roman rule, the Antinoite nome is first recorded on the papyrus P. Ant 1 43 and supported by further inscriptions found at el-Bersha showing the East and West banks divided and controlling separate military forces.[5][20][21] This nome would take up a large part of the Eastern bank of the river. Its exact borders are uncertain but possibly went as north as Alabastronpolis (mentioned in P. S. B. 22 15618). It is also recorded that during this time, the Nedjefet-Pehut (known as the Koussite) nome regained its status as a nome for a short period.[22][20] Using 4th century tax paperwork, Wenet was believed to have stretched from Manfalut in the south to Samalut in the north.[19]

Nomarchs[]

The following nomarchs of Wenet are known:

Twenty-fifth Dynasty[]

References[]

  1. Manley, B. (1996) The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt. Penguin Publishing, London & New York.
  2. Boston Mus. 09.200
  3. Bunson, M.R. (2012) Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. 3rd ed. Facts on File Publishing. New York City.
  4. Shaw, I. (2000). Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press, New York. Pg. 481.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Percy E., Newberry, G., & Willoughby F. (1893-4). El-Bersheh Part I & II. Egyptian Exploration Fund. London.
  6. Hayes, W.C. (1971) The Cambridge Ancient History: The Middle Kingdom in Egypt: Internal History From the Rise of the Heracleopolians to the Death of Ammenemes III. Vol. 1 Pt. 2. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  7. Falkner, R.O. (1944) The Rebellion in the Hare Nome. The Journal of Egyptian Archeology, Vol. 30. pp 61-63
  8. Rouvière, L. et al. (2013). Karnak, White Chapel, Southern Basement (KIU 1128). Système d’Indexation des Textes Hiéroglyphiques (SITH), Montpellier.
  9. Leitz, C. (2017). Die Größe Ägyptens nach dem Sesostris-Kiosk in Karnak. Propylaeum, Tübingen.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Helck, W. (1974). Die Altägyptische Gaue. Dr. Ludwig Reichert. Wiesbaden. Pg 110.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Simpson, W.K. (2003) The Literature of Ancient Egypt. Yale University, New Haven. Pg 346.
  12. Ryholt, K. (1970) The Political Situation in Egypt During the Second Intermediate Period, c.1800-1550 B.C. The Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Baines J. & Malek, J. (2000) Cultural Atlas of Ancient Egypt. Andromeda Oxford Limited, Oxfordshire.
  14. Kemp, B. (2014) The City of Akhenaten and Nefertiti: Amarna and its People. Thames & Hudson, London.
  15. Muhs, B. (2021) The History of Hibeh. The Hibeh Project. University of California, Berkeley.
  16. Kitchen, K.A. (1973) The Third Intermediate Period of Egypt (1100 - 650 B.C.). Alden Press, Oxford. Pg. 316
  17. Talbert, R. J. A. (2000). Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. Princeton University Press. Princeton. Pg. 1147.
  18. Talbert, R. J. A. (2000). Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. Princeton University Press. Princeton. Pg. 1147.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Bowman, A.K. (1975) Landholdings in the Hermopolite Nome in the Fourth Century A.D. The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 76. pp. 137 - 163
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Bear, M. (1979). Le Nome Hermopolite. Scholars Press, Missoula.
  21. Gonis, N. (2019) Antinoite and Hermopolite Villages and Requisitions. University College London, London.
  22. Maspero, G. (1892) Notes au Jour le Jour. Part IV.  Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archeology. Vol. XIV. The Offices of the Society, Bloomsbury..
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