In The Beginning... The Creation of Luxor and Egypt as we know it!

On the eastern bank of The River Nile, nearly seven hundred kilometers south of Cairo, there once stood an unpretentious village called Waset. It was no different from hundreds of others and as yet had no inkling of its destined growth into the pivot of a stupendous civilization. This was the site of ancient Thebes and of present day Luxor.

Like peasants all over Egypt since the beginning of history, its inhabitants were superstitious. The lived much as they do today in many isolated rural areas, in villages composed of sun-dried mud
brick houses separated by narrow lanes. Their lives were largely governed by the cycle of the Nile flood which they had learned to channel and to exploit. Because its benefits and its hazards came
with untiring regularity, the lives of the people were similarly rhythmic, following an unchanging social pattern.


This enigmatic universe awakened speculation in the minds of the Egyptians long before dynastic times. The primitive dwellers of the Nile Valley, in Waser as elsewhere, devised explanations,at
once naive and delightfully imaginative, of the alternation of night and day, of the glittering heavenly bodies and of all good things on earth. The world as they saw it was created by supernatural beings who revealed themselves in the heavenly bodies. Arum,who created himself of himself on the top of a hill that emerged from the eternal ocean, brought forth four children : Shu and Tefnut, Keb and Nul. Keb, the god of the earth, and Nut, the goddess of the sky, were one. They were locked in a lovers' embrace, Keb beneath Nut. Shu, representing the atmosphere, emerged from the primaeval waters and forcibly separated the two by slipping between them and raising Nut aloft in his outstretched arms to her new abode . Keb and Nut were father and mother off our divinities: Osiris, who became associated with the Nile and the fertile lands bordering it, Isis, Set and Nephthys.


The greatest phenomenon of nature, the sun , naturally made the most powerful impression on the Nile dwellers. Though universally recognised as the principal heavenly body, it was interpreted diflerentlv in different areas . The center of the cult was On (Heliopolis) where the Sun God was known as Ra (the solar orb)or Atum (the setting sun). Under one priesthood he was Khepri (the beetle), under another Horus (the brilliant-plumed hawk). It was believed that he sailed across the heavenly ocean on a boat each day, from the pink-speckled dawn to the blood-red sunset. With the last rays of the day he transferred to a barge that continued the voyage through the netherworld. temporarily illuminating Its darkness.
In these prehistoric times religious beliefs developed in separate and independent areas. There was a patron deitv in each town or village: adeity to whom the inhabitants prayed for guidance, help and courage, a deity they courted with offerings, prayers and sacrifices. The name s of these local deities bore no resemblance from one area to another. In the little village of Waset, Wast was the local goddess; Montu was the local god of Armant some ten kilometres south of Waser; and Amon, who was later to become the national god, was at this time no more than one of the eight local deities of Ashrnounein, a district of Middle Egypt.
In addition to the local deities evidence exists that even from early times there were many generally accepted religious concepts not confined to a limited area. The crocodile for instance, the evil spirit that dwelt in water, was known down the length of the Nile, as were demon spirits and lesser deities like the good god Bes who helped women through child birth.
As time passed. Commercial and administrative intercourse developed and largely incompatible beliefs no longer remained local. As a town or district grew, so the local deity extended its jurisdiction. The people consequently adopted a new deity and erected new shrines to him whilst maintaining the worship of their original local god. Sometimes a stronger deity managed completely to overshadow a weaker. This is what happened in Waset, The tiny local goddess was almost swept aside by the strong war-god of Armant, the hawk-headed Montu.
It is not surprising that the independent provinces of Egypt should have tended towards political unity. They slowly merged until two powerful states came into existence: a northern kingdom which largely included the Delta, and a southern kingdom which extended south to Aswan , The rulers of the northern kingdom had as their insignia The red crown, and their capital was Buto in the north-western section of the Delta. The southern capital was Nekheb (EI Kab) near the modern town of Edfu on the left bank of
the Nile, and the rulers had as their insignia the white crown. Each state also had its own national emblem: the papyrus in the north and the lotus in the south.
During the long pre-dynastic years while these two capitals flourished independently sometimes peacefully, sometimes clashing in armed strife, ancient Thebes slumbered. When the northern kingdom overcame the southern and the two were united into a single state with the City of the Sun (Heliopolis) as its religious capital. the people of ancient Thebes continued to live as did their fathers and their fathers' fathers before them: a simple rural existence where the annual flood was the all-important event of the year and the regular channelling of its flow the most creative activitv. Little was known of activities elsewhere.
In the north Menes founded the1st Dynasty and set up his capital at Memphis. After years of frustrated effort towards unity came the ultimate solution.'The Pharaoh of Egypt was henceforth a god. the god-king of a single united country. And not only was he to be recognized as divine and worshiped as such during his lifetime,but his cult should be continued for ever after in a mortuary temple.

With King Zoser we pass from the Eearly Dynastic Period of the first two dynasties (31oo-2686 B.C.) to the period of the Old Kingdom, extending from the 6th Dynasties (2686- 2181 B.C. ). Zoser, the first god- king. firmly established . Memphite supremacy. In his reign vessels over fifty metres long were constructed for river traffic, the copper mines in Sinai were exploited, commerce was carried on with the Phoenician coast, cedarwood was imported from Lebanon, slaves from Nubia. And he instructed his gifted architect, lmhotep, to erect the first large structure of stone known in history: the Step Pyramid at Sakkara, But in Thebes the most dramatic occurrence had been the adoption of Montu as local deity and the erecting of modest shrines to him.

Then came the 4th Dynasty and the epoch of powerful monarchs whose great pyramids at Giza and Dahshur secured them undying fame: Snefru, Khufu, Khafre and Menkure. Only a strong and effective government such as that under Khufu could have envisaged and organized. as we assume that it did, the erection of the great pyramid of Giza, by one hundred thousand men over twenty years. This was the development of organized society under one controlling mind and it was a period of unprecedented grandeur. But Thebes was hardly affected.

In the 5th Dynasty Egypt's civilization attained new heights. In particular her art reached a degree of perfection never known before. Commerce existed with Punt on the Somali coast. The quarries of Wadi Hammamat in the eastern desert were opened. The benefits were being reaped of years of intelligent, single-minded and imaginative administration . But then something happened that was to have far-reaching consequences. The unlimited power enjoyed by the Pharaohs was partly passed to their officials, and the result was an inevitable weakening of Pharonic power. In fact the 6th Dynasty saw the local governors actually shaking themselves free of the Pharaoh's yoke and estahlishing independence.

And Thebes' Political awareness was dawning at last . After the fall of the monarchy in Memphis there was a readjustment of the scales of power. This was in what historians refer to as the First Intcrmediate Period, covering the 7th to the 10th Dynasties (2181- 2040 B.C.) . Some of the independent kings in the north established themselves at Heracleopolis and others at Memphis. The disorganization and weakness of the 7th and 8th Dynasties, which lasted for a mere thirty years, gave way to 285 years of Heracleopolitan rule in the 9th and 10th Dynasties when some degree of order was restored. Although little is known about them, the last rulers in the family line were powerful monarchs. And in the south power was seized by another family of monarchs, whose capital was Armant, neighbouring Thebes. Toward, the close of the 10th Dynasty this family forced their way northwards from Thebes. Little by little they extended their authority, annexing local provinces and establishing themselves until the inevitable clash with the rulers of the north . The struggle was fierce and long and resulted in triumph for the south. Thus, after almost three centuries of feudalism, Entef and Mentuhotep succeeded in reuniting the country. Theban supremacy was recognized, trade was resumed, expansionist aims were reborn . And Amon was at last introduced to Thebes, not as a local deity, like Wast and Monru before him,but as the national god.

The Middle Kingdom covers the 11th and the 12th Dynasties (2040 - 1786 B.C.) . The 11th Dynasty was Egypt's mst prosperous since that of the pyramid builders. The first Pharaoh over the reunited country was Mentuhotep II.Amenemhct I, whose rule heralded a time of great building activity and aliterary and artistic revival, established the 12th Dynasty. There is hardly a town in Egypt, and Thebes is no exception, without some trace of the building activities of the Pharaohs of this dynasty. Goldsmiths, jewellers and relief workers perfected their skills,while architects raised some of the most beautiful temples ever known.

For some two hundred years Amenernhet's successors maintained a prosperous rule and Egyptian influence was extended abroad: along: the Red Sea to Nubia and Punt , around the Mediterranean to Libya. Palestine and Syria, even to Crete, the Aegean Islands and the mainland of Greece. But though natives of Thebes the rulers had their capital in the Fayourn.

With the passing of the Middle Kingdom we come to a time of decline, The Second Intermedtat Period covering the 13th to the 17th Dynasties (1786 -1567 B.C.). This was the era of the ascendancy of the Hyksos. Coming from the direction of Syria, these tribes occupied Egypt at the end of the 13th Dynasty and ruled for over 150 years until the17th Dynasty. The Egyptian prince Sekenenre and his son Kamose finally rose against the brutal invaders.
Kumosc's brorher Ahmose established the 18th Dvnastv and the New Kingdom, which included the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties (1567 -1085 B.C.). He completed the task begun by Kamose, finally rid the country of the Hyksos plague and began a period of gigantic imperial expansion in West Asia and the Sudan

It was only now that Thebes began to develop. As befitted a new capital, the expansion was slow at first but it continued with increasing momentum until the one time village was transformed into the seat of a world power never before witnessed. Military conquests and territorial expansion went hand in hand with an artistic and architectural revolution of unparalleled grandeur. Following the accession and conquests of Thutmose III ,who pushed the northern frontiers of the country to the Euphrates, booty from conquered nations and tributes from the provinces of the then known powers poured into the gigantic storehouse of Thebes. The greater part of the wealth was best owed upon Amon who, with the
aid of the now influential priesthood,emerged at last the 'Solar God', 'The King of Gods ', the great Amon-Ra.

The power of Amon was evervyhere in evidence, Magnificent temples were built for him, elaborately embellished and adorned. It was both a duty and a privilege to serve him and successive Pharaohs systematically endeavoured to outdo their predecessors in the magnificence of their architectural and artistic endeavours. 'Hundred-Gated Thebes' was at the peak of its glory.

Primitive animal deities had long ago given way to variations of the human form with animal head, where the head was also human, adorned with plaited beard or characteristic headgear as distinguishing marks. Arnon-Ra himself was variously represented: as a ram with curved horns ; as a man with a ram' 5 head : as a man with a headgear of two upright plumes in whose hands were a scepter as a symbol of power, and the symbol of life. He was sometimes depicted standing, sometimes seated majestically holding his emblems. Only the Pharaoh of Egypt or the high priest delegated in his stead were permitted into the sacred sanctuarv of Amon.or Holy of Hollies. And only on certain days of the year was the deirv shown to the populace: carried in extravngant procession along garlanded thorough fares. Amon guided the Pharaoh in civic affairs, granted him victory over his enemies, favoured all who served him. Amon gave divine protection .

When Amon was dishonoured by .Amenhotep IV (Ikhnaton/Akhenaten), who worshiped the life-giving rays of the full solar disc of Atun in place of the ascending sun Ra, this in retrospect affected Thebes
hut slightly. Although murals were defaced, shrines destroyed and the image of Amon hacked away. His dethronement was short lived, Tutankhamun, on succeeding to the throne, started the restoration of damaged temples, and Harmhab, Ramses I, Seti I and Ramses II continued the work of rebuilding, reconstructing and renovating the temples, to restore the reputation of the King of Gods .

Down the years Amon's wealth increased enormously. He possessed over 5,000 divine statues, more than 81,000 slaves, vassals and servants, well over 421,000 head of cattle, 433 gardens and orchards, 691,334 acres of land, 83 ships, 46 building yards and 65 cities and towns.
The arch-priests, already wielding a growing political power as a result of their very special reinstated position, gradually came to regard themselves as the ruling- power of the state. Their long-awaited opportunity finally carne when Akhenaten's religious revolt was followed, in the 20th Dynasty by a succession of weak rulers. This enabled Amon's priests to usurp the throne and for a time to unite priesthood with royalty. The days of Egyptian conquest were over.

To endeavor to date the fall of Thebes is difficult. One could say it started as far back as the 18th Dynasty when Akhenaten, the sensitive, peace-loving Pharaoh who believed in a universal god,
shifted the capital to Tel el Amarna and failed to maintain his foreign interests .One could date it to the reign of Rarmses II in the 19th Dynasty when, in his concern to place his armies more strategically for his battles against the Hittites, he transferred the royal residence to Per-Ramses in the eastern part of the Delta. Or one could see the 20th Dynasty as the turning point, and certainly Ramses III and his ever-weakening successors fell more and more under the yoke of the priesthood and undoubtedly contributed to the collapse of the state. But the real downward slope of the graph, and its continued drop, came in the 21st Dynasty, just over one thousand years D.C. when high priest Hrihor made Egypt an ecclesiastical state. Thus began the period known by historians as the Late Period of the 21st to the 25th Dynasties (1085: 663 B.C.).
Nubia took advantage of the weakened capital to gain independence. Palestine and Syria were lost. The throne was then usurped by Libyan monarchs who ruled for nearly two hundred Years. They were in turn ousted by the Nubians. The growing Assyrian empire advanced on Egypt, plundering the capital and overthrowing the Nubian rulers. And though the country shook off the occupying forces during a short-lived comeback under the kings of the 26th Dynasty, the Persians invaded Egypt in 525 B.C. and the country became a Persian province. Then Alexander the Great marched triumphantly along the Nile Valley to liberate the country but actually succeeded in destroying the state's independent status once and for all. Finally the Romans turned Egypt into a colony. Yet while Thebes was sinking into mediocrity, its conquerors treated it as a great city and tried to preserve and embellish it. The Nubians particularly, having assimilated the culture of Egypt and become fanatical adherents of Amon, sought to reinspire Theban culture and safeguard the city from collapse. The kings of the 26th Dynasty built lesser temples to Amon and bestowed their wealth, what remained of it,up on him. The invading army of Cambyses, though striking as far as Upper Egypt , actually did very little damage to the city. The rule of the Ptolemies is noted for its architectural activity and the Greeks conscientiously endeavored to add to the splendor of national buildings after a priest had told Alexander that he was the son of Amon and should revere him. The Romans too repaired ruins and built temples in the traditional style, each retaining something of the earlier grandeur. But it was a losing battle. The past was not to be recaptured, Thebes could hardly hide its well-earned wrinkles and a time weathered quality lay over the metropolis.
With the advent of the divine religions came systematic destruction. It happened first in the tombs and shrines where the early Christians hid. Later the "pagan" statues were up rooted, sacred sanctuaries mutilated, attempts made to topple obelisks and colossi and obliterate forever the visages of the “heathen gods”. Akhenaten's acts were half-hearted dabbling when compared with this whole-sale destruction. The city weakened and crumbled till it was no more than a collection of villages,
At last, as though wishing to protect what remained, the dry desert winds blew a mantle of sand over the dead city. Particle settled firmly onto particle, layer upon layer, until once lofty colonnades were half submerged in a sea of sand. Between the elaborately decorated capitals children playgrounds sprang up.
Mud dwellings were built by peasants alongside sculptured wall and column. Dovecots were erected on architrave and pylon. Ancient Thebes was gone. 'Luxor' was born: its name being derived from the Arabic El-Oksor. ' the palaces'. Still the destruction went on . Slabs from the monuments with their invaluable inscriptions were torn down or reduced to lime.
Wind and sun ate into the facades. And the Nile, rising and falling with the annual flood , continued to play its part in causing irreparable harm to the treasures of Amon. It was left to the modern archeologists, who began to filter southwards before the rum of the19th century, to excavate and interpret for us thegolden era of Egypt's history.

In The Beginning... The Creation of Luxor and Egypt as we know it!

On the eastern bank of The River Nile, nearly seven hundred kilometers south of Cairo, there once stood an unpretentious village called Waset. It was no different from hundreds of others and as yet had no inkling of its destined growth into the pivot of a stupendous civilization. This was the site of ancient Thebes and of present day Luxor.

Like peasants all over Egypt since the beginning of history, its inhabitants were superstitious. The lived much as they do today in many isolated rural areas, in villages composed of sun-dried mud
brick houses separated by narrow lanes. Their lives were largely governed by the cycle of the Nile flood which they had learned to channel and to exploit. Because its benefits and its hazards came
with untiring regularity, the lives of the people were similarly rhythmic, following an unchanging social pattern.


This enigmatic universe awakened speculation in the minds of the Egyptians long before dynastic times. The primitive dwellers of the Nile Valley, in Waser as elsewhere, devised explanations,at
once naive and delightfully imaginative, of the alternation of night and day, of the glittering heavenly bodies and of all good things on earth. The world as they saw it was created by supernatural beings who revealed themselves in the heavenly bodies. Arum,who created himself of himself on the top of a hill that emerged from the eternal ocean, brought forth four children : Shu and Tefnut, Keb and Nul. Keb, the god of the earth, and Nut, the goddess of the sky, were one. They were locked in a lovers' embrace, Keb beneath Nut. Shu, representing the atmosphere, emerged from the primaeval waters and forcibly separated the two by slipping between them and raising Nut aloft in his outstretched arms to her new abode . Keb and Nut were father and mother off our divinities: Osiris, who became associated with the Nile and the fertile lands bordering it, Isis, Set and Nephthys.


The greatest phenomenon of nature, the sun , naturally made the most powerful impression on the Nile dwellers. Though universally recognised as the principal heavenly body, it was interpreted diflerentlv in different areas . The center of the cult was On (Heliopolis) where the Sun God was known as Ra (the solar orb)or Atum (the setting sun). Under one priesthood he was Khepri (the beetle), under another Horus (the brilliant-plumed hawk). It was believed that he sailed across the heavenly ocean on a boat each day, from the pink-speckled dawn to the blood-red sunset. With the last rays of the day he transferred to a barge that continued the voyage through the netherworld. temporarily illuminating Its darkness.
In these prehistoric times religious beliefs developed in separate and independent areas. There was a patron deitv in each town or village: adeity to whom the inhabitants prayed for guidance, help and courage, a deity they courted with offerings, prayers and sacrifices. The name s of these local deities bore no resemblance from one area to another. In the little village of Waset, Wast was the local goddess; Montu was the local god of Armant some ten kilometres south of Waser; and Amon, who was later to become the national god, was at this time no more than one of the eight local deities of Ashrnounein, a district of Middle Egypt.
In addition to the local deities evidence exists that even from early times there were many generally accepted religious concepts not confined to a limited area. The crocodile for instance, the evil spirit that dwelt in water, was known down the length of the Nile, as were demon spirits and lesser deities like the good god Bes who helped women through child birth.
As time passed. Commercial and administrative intercourse developed and largely incompatible beliefs no longer remained local. As a town or district grew, so the local deity extended its jurisdiction. The people consequently adopted a new deity and erected new shrines to him whilst maintaining the worship of their original local god. Sometimes a stronger deity managed completely to overshadow a weaker. This is what happened in Waset, The tiny local goddess was almost swept aside by the strong war-god of Armant, the hawk-headed Montu.
It is not surprising that the independent provinces of Egypt should have tended towards political unity. They slowly merged until two powerful states came into existence: a northern kingdom which largely included the Delta, and a southern kingdom which extended south to Aswan , The rulers of the northern kingdom had as their insignia The red crown, and their capital was Buto in the north-western section of the Delta. The southern capital was Nekheb (EI Kab) near the modern town of Edfu on the left bank of
the Nile, and the rulers had as their insignia the white crown. Each state also had its own national emblem: the papyrus in the north and the lotus in the south.
During the long pre-dynastic years while these two capitals flourished independently sometimes peacefully, sometimes clashing in armed strife, ancient Thebes slumbered. When the northern kingdom overcame the southern and the two were united into a single state with the City of the Sun (Heliopolis) as its religious capital. the people of ancient Thebes continued to live as did their fathers and their fathers' fathers before them: a simple rural existence where the annual flood was the all-important event of the year and the regular channelling of its flow the most creative activitv. Little was known of activities elsewhere.
In the north Menes founded the1st Dynasty and set up his capital at Memphis. After years of frustrated effort towards unity came the ultimate solution.'The Pharaoh of Egypt was henceforth a god. the god-king of a single united country. And not only was he to be recognized as divine and worshiped as such during his lifetime,but his cult should be continued for ever after in a mortuary temple.

With King Zoser we pass from the Eearly Dynastic Period of the first two dynasties (31oo-2686 B.C.) to the period of the Old Kingdom, extending from the 6th Dynasties (2686- 2181 B.C. ). Zoser, the first god- king. firmly established . Memphite supremacy. In his reign vessels over fifty metres long were constructed for river traffic, the copper mines in Sinai were exploited, commerce was carried on with the Phoenician coast, cedarwood was imported from Lebanon, slaves from Nubia. And he instructed his gifted architect, lmhotep, to erect the first large structure of stone known in history: the Step Pyramid at Sakkara, But in Thebes the most dramatic occurrence had been the adoption of Montu as local deity and the erecting of modest shrines to him.

Then came the 4th Dynasty and the epoch of powerful monarchs whose great pyramids at Giza and Dahshur secured them undying fame: Snefru, Khufu, Khafre and Menkure. Only a strong and effective government such as that under Khufu could have envisaged and organized. as we assume that it did, the erection of the great pyramid of Giza, by one hundred thousand men over twenty years. This was the development of organized society under one controlling mind and it was a period of unprecedented grandeur. But Thebes was hardly affected.

In the 5th Dynasty Egypt's civilization attained new heights. In particular her art reached a degree of perfection never known before. Commerce existed with Punt on the Somali coast. The quarries of Wadi Hammamat in the eastern desert were opened. The benefits were being reaped of years of intelligent, single-minded and imaginative administration . But then something happened that was to have far-reaching consequences. The unlimited power enjoyed by the Pharaohs was partly passed to their officials, and the result was an inevitable weakening of Pharonic power. In fact the 6th Dynasty saw the local governors actually shaking themselves free of the Pharaoh's yoke and estahlishing independence.

And Thebes' Political awareness was dawning at last . After the fall of the monarchy in Memphis there was a readjustment of the scales of power. This was in what historians refer to as the First Intcrmediate Period, covering the 7th to the 10th Dynasties (2181- 2040 B.C.) . Some of the independent kings in the north established themselves at Heracleopolis and others at Memphis. The disorganization and weakness of the 7th and 8th Dynasties, which lasted for a mere thirty years, gave way to 285 years of Heracleopolitan rule in the 9th and 10th Dynasties when some degree of order was restored. Although little is known about them, the last rulers in the family line were powerful monarchs. And in the south power was seized by another family of monarchs, whose capital was Armant, neighbouring Thebes. Toward, the close of the 10th Dynasty this family forced their way northwards from Thebes. Little by little they extended their authority, annexing local provinces and establishing themselves until the inevitable clash with the rulers of the north . The struggle was fierce and long and resulted in triumph for the south. Thus, after almost three centuries of feudalism, Entef and Mentuhotep succeeded in reuniting the country. Theban supremacy was recognized, trade was resumed, expansionist aims were reborn . And Amon was at last introduced to Thebes, not as a local deity, like Wast and Monru before him,but as the national god.

The Middle Kingdom covers the 11th and the 12th Dynasties (2040 - 1786 B.C.) . The 11th Dynasty was Egypt's mst prosperous since that of the pyramid builders. The first Pharaoh over the reunited country was Mentuhotep II.Amenemhct I, whose rule heralded a time of great building activity and aliterary and artistic revival, established the 12th Dynasty. There is hardly a town in Egypt, and Thebes is no exception, without some trace of the building activities of the Pharaohs of this dynasty. Goldsmiths, jewellers and relief workers perfected their skills,while architects raised some of the most beautiful temples ever known.

For some two hundred years Amenernhet's successors maintained a prosperous rule and Egyptian influence was extended abroad: along: the Red Sea to Nubia and Punt , around the Mediterranean to Libya. Palestine and Syria, even to Crete, the Aegean Islands and the mainland of Greece. But though natives of Thebes the rulers had their capital in the Fayourn.

With the passing of the Middle Kingdom we come to a time of decline, The Second Intermedtat Period covering the 13th to the 17th Dynasties (1786 -1567 B.C.). This was the era of the ascendancy of the Hyksos. Coming from the direction of Syria, these tribes occupied Egypt at the end of the 13th Dynasty and ruled for over 150 years until the17th Dynasty. The Egyptian prince Sekenenre and his son Kamose finally rose against the brutal invaders.
Kumosc's brorher Ahmose established the 18th Dvnastv and the New Kingdom, which included the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties (1567 -1085 B.C.). He completed the task begun by Kamose, finally rid the country of the Hyksos plague and began a period of gigantic imperial expansion in West Asia and the Sudan

It was only now that Thebes began to develop. As befitted a new capital, the expansion was slow at first but it continued with increasing momentum until the one time village was transformed into the seat of a world power never before witnessed. Military conquests and territorial expansion went hand in hand with an artistic and architectural revolution of unparalleled grandeur. Following the accession and conquests of Thutmose III ,who pushed the northern frontiers of the country to the Euphrates, booty from conquered nations and tributes from the provinces of the then known powers poured into the gigantic storehouse of Thebes. The greater part of the wealth was best owed upon Amon who, with the
aid of the now influential priesthood,emerged at last the 'Solar God', 'The King of Gods ', the great Amon-Ra.

The power of Amon was evervyhere in evidence, Magnificent temples were built for him, elaborately embellished and adorned. It was both a duty and a privilege to serve him and successive Pharaohs systematically endeavoured to outdo their predecessors in the magnificence of their architectural and artistic endeavours. 'Hundred-Gated Thebes' was at the peak of its glory.

Primitive animal deities had long ago given way to variations of the human form with animal head, where the head was also human, adorned with plaited beard or characteristic headgear as distinguishing marks. Arnon-Ra himself was variously represented: as a ram with curved horns ; as a man with a ram' 5 head : as a man with a headgear of two upright plumes in whose hands were a scepter as a symbol of power, and the symbol of life. He was sometimes depicted standing, sometimes seated majestically holding his emblems. Only the Pharaoh of Egypt or the high priest delegated in his stead were permitted into the sacred sanctuarv of Amon.or Holy of Hollies. And only on certain days of the year was the deirv shown to the populace: carried in extravngant procession along garlanded thorough fares. Amon guided the Pharaoh in civic affairs, granted him victory over his enemies, favoured all who served him. Amon gave divine protection .

When Amon was dishonoured by .Amenhotep IV (Ikhnaton/Akhenaten), who worshiped the life-giving rays of the full solar disc of Atun in place of the ascending sun Ra, this in retrospect affected Thebes
hut slightly. Although murals were defaced, shrines destroyed and the image of Amon hacked away. His dethronement was short lived, Tutankhamun, on succeeding to the throne, started the restoration of damaged temples, and Harmhab, Ramses I, Seti I and Ramses II continued the work of rebuilding, reconstructing and renovating the temples, to restore the reputation of the King of Gods .

Down the years Amon's wealth increased enormously. He possessed over 5,000 divine statues, more than 81,000 slaves, vassals and servants, well over 421,000 head of cattle, 433 gardens and orchards, 691,334 acres of land, 83 ships, 46 building yards and 65 cities and towns.
The arch-priests, already wielding a growing political power as a result of their very special reinstated position, gradually came to regard themselves as the ruling- power of the state. Their long-awaited opportunity finally carne when Akhenaten's religious revolt was followed, in the 20th Dynasty by a succession of weak rulers. This enabled Amon's priests to usurp the throne and for a time to unite priesthood with royalty. The days of Egyptian conquest were over.

To endeavor to date the fall of Thebes is difficult. One could say it started as far back as the 18th Dynasty when Akhenaten, the sensitive, peace-loving Pharaoh who believed in a universal god,
shifted the capital to Tel el Amarna and failed to maintain his foreign interests .One could date it to the reign of Rarmses II in the 19th Dynasty when, in his concern to place his armies more strategically for his battles against the Hittites, he transferred the royal residence to Per-Ramses in the eastern part of the Delta. Or one could see the 20th Dynasty as the turning point, and certainly Ramses III and his ever-weakening successors fell more and more under the yoke of the priesthood and undoubtedly contributed to the collapse of the state. But the real downward slope of the graph, and its continued drop, came in the 21st Dynasty, just over one thousand years D.C. when high priest Hrihor made Egypt an ecclesiastical state. Thus began the period known by historians as the Late Period of the 21st to the 25th Dynasties (1085: 663 B.C.).
Nubia took advantage of the weakened capital to gain independence. Palestine and Syria were lost. The throne was then usurped by Libyan monarchs who ruled for nearly two hundred Years. They were in turn ousted by the Nubians. The growing Assyrian empire advanced on Egypt, plundering the capital and overthrowing the Nubian rulers. And though the country shook off the occupying forces during a short-lived comeback under the kings of the 26th Dynasty, the Persians invaded Egypt in 525 B.C. and the country became a Persian province. Then Alexander the Great marched triumphantly along the Nile Valley to liberate the country but actually succeeded in destroying the state's independent status once and for all. Finally the Romans turned Egypt into a colony. Yet while Thebes was sinking into mediocrity, its conquerors treated it as a great city and tried to preserve and embellish it. The Nubians particularly, having assimilated the culture of Egypt and become fanatical adherents of Amon, sought to reinspire Theban culture and safeguard the city from collapse. The kings of the 26th Dynasty built lesser temples to Amon and bestowed their wealth, what remained of it,up on him. The invading army of Cambyses, though striking as far as Upper Egypt , actually did very little damage to the city. The rule of the Ptolemies is noted for its architectural activity and the Greeks conscientiously endeavored to add to the splendor of national buildings after a priest had told Alexander that he was the son of Amon and should revere him. The Romans too repaired ruins and built temples in the traditional style, each retaining something of the earlier grandeur. But it was a losing battle. The past was not to be recaptured, Thebes could hardly hide its well-earned wrinkles and a time weathered quality lay over the metropolis.
With the advent of the divine religions came systematic destruction. It happened first in the tombs and shrines where the early Christians hid. Later the "pagan" statues were up rooted, sacred sanctuaries mutilated, attempts made to topple obelisks and colossi and obliterate forever the visages of the “heathen gods”. Akhenaten's acts were half-hearted dabbling when compared with this whole-sale destruction. The city weakened and crumbled till it was no more than a collection of villages,
At last, as though wishing to protect what remained, the dry desert winds blew a mantle of sand over the dead city. Particle settled firmly onto particle, layer upon layer, until once lofty colonnades were half submerged in a sea of sand. Between the elaborately decorated capitals children playgrounds sprang up.
Mud dwellings were built by peasants alongside sculptured wall and column. Dovecots were erected on architrave and pylon. Ancient Thebes was gone. 'Luxor' was born: its name being derived from the Arabic El-Oksor. ' the palaces'. Still the destruction went on . Slabs from the monuments with their invaluable inscriptions were torn down or reduced to lime.
Wind and sun ate into the facades. And the Nile, rising and falling with the annual flood , continued to play its part in causing irreparable harm to the treasures of Amon. It was left to the modern archeologists, who began to filter southwards before the rum of the19th century, to excavate and interpret for us thegolden era of Egypt's history.
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