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Warehouse D
Ancient Egypt
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Thebes - The Forgotten Center Of World Government

By James Donahue

When we think of Egypt we think of the great city of Cairo which has stood a very long time as the heart of that nation's government. What we don't remember is the City of Thebes, which was the true heart of ancient Egypt at a time when the country was ruled by the pharaonic dynasties.

Thebes was located on the east side of the Nile River, about 500 miles south of Cairo. The Cities of Luxor and Karnak stand today over the ruins of Thebes. The entire area, covering about two square miles, is considered a highly treasured archaeological site since most of Egypt's great rulers not only lived there, but are buried nearby in the famous Valley of the Kings.

The history of that place dates back nearly 5,000 years when it existed as a small community known as Epet. The city remained obscure in history until the rise of the XI Dynasty in the city in 3234 BC. Once that happened Thebes became the royal residence and the seat of power. It also became the center of the worship of the Egyptian God Amon.

The history of Thebes had its ups and downs. The city remained the seat of the rulers until Akhenaten was Pharaoh in the 14th Century BC. Akhanaten and his wife, Nefertiti, turned away from the worship of Amon and, instead, established the foremost and only god as Aten. They also constructed a new city to be the Egyptian capitol that was named Amarna, in 1353, in honor the Aten.

The old religious system, however, opposed this ruler and after the passing of Akhanaten and Nefertiti, the City of Amarina was destroyed and the capitol was moved back to Thebes. It remained the center of political, cultural and religious influence until the city was sacked by the Assyrians in 661. After that it was destroyed by the Romans at about 30 BC.

Within the City of Karnak, which stands on the ruins, the temple of Amen still stands. It was first constructed about 2000 BC and new temples have been built on top of it ever since. This is the largest temple complex ever built by man. It includes three main temples of Mut, Montu and Amun, enclosed by massive brick walls. Also included are smaller enclosed temples and several outer temples about three kilometers north of Luxor. The ancient name of the place was Ipet-isut, which meant "The Most Select of Places."