Ancient Egyptian medicine
The medicine of the ancient Egyptians is some of the oldest documented. From the beginnings of the civilization in the late fourth millennium BC until the Persian invasion of 525 BC, Egyptian medical practice went unchanged but was advanced for its time, including simple non-invasive surgery, setting of bones, an extensive set of pharmacopoeia. Egyptian medical thought influenced traditions, including the Greeks; until the 19th century, the main sources of information about ancient Egyptian medicine were writings from in antiquity. The Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt around 440 BC and wrote extensively of his observations of their medicinal practice. Pliny the Elder wrote favorably of them in historical review. Hippocrates, Herophilos and Galen studied at the temple of Amenhotep, acknowledged the contribution of ancient Egyptian medicine to Greek medicine. In 1822, the translation of the Rosetta stone allowed the translation of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions and papyri, including many related to medical matters.
The resultant interest in Egyptology in the 19th century led to the discovery of several sets of extensive ancient medical documents, including the Ebers papyrus, the Edwin Smith Papyrus, the Hearst Papyrus, the London Medical Papyrus and others dating back as far as 2900 BC. The Edwin Smith Papyrus is a textbook on surgery and details anatomical observations and the "examination, diagnosis and prognosis" of numerous ailments, it was written around 1600 BC, but is regarded as a copy of several earlier texts. Medical information in it dates from as early as 3000 BC, it is thus viewed as a learning manual. Treatments consisted of ointments made from minerals. There is evidence of oral surgery being performed as early as the 4th Dynasty; the Ebers papyrus c. 1550 BC includes 877 prescriptions for a variety of ailments and illnesses, some of them involving magical remedies, for Egyptian beliefs regarding magic and medicine were intertwined. It contains documentation revealing awareness of tumors, along with instructions on tumor removal.
The Kahun Gynaecological Papyrus treats women's complaints, including problems with conception. Thirty four cases detailing diagnosis and treatment survive. Dating to 1800 BC, it is the oldest surviving medical text of any kind. Other documents such as the Hearst papyrus, Berlin Papyrus provide valuable insight into ancient Egyptian medicine. Other information comes from the images that adorn the walls of Egyptian tombs and the translation of the accompanying inscriptions. Advances in modern medical technology contributed to the understanding of ancient Egyptian medicine. Paleopathologists were able to use X-Rays and CAT Scans to view the bones and organs of mummies. Electron microscopes, mass spectrometry and various forensic techniques allowed scientists unique glimpses of the state of health in Egypt 4000 years ago; the ancient Egyptians were at least aware of the importance of diet, both in balance and moderation. Owing to Egypt's great endowment of fertile land, food production was never a major issue, although, no matter how bountiful the land and starvation still exist.
The main crops for most of ancient Egyptian history were emmer barley. Consumed in the form of loaves which were produced in a variety of types through baking and fermentation, with yeast enriching the nutritional value of the product, one farmer's crop could support an estimated twenty adults. Barley was used in beer. Vegetables and fruits of many types were grown. Oil was produced from the linseed plant and there was a limited selection of spices and herbs. Meat was available to at least the upper classes and fish were consumed, although there is evidence of prohibitions during certain periods against certain types of animal products. Offerings to King Unas were recorded as "...milk, three kinds of beer, five kinds of wine, ten loaves, four of bread, ten of cakes four meats, different cuts, roast, limb, quail, pigeon, ten other fruits, three kinds of corn, spelt, five kinds of oil, fresh plants..." It is clear that the Egyptian diet was not lacking for the upper classes and that the lower classes may have had some selection.
Like many civilizations in the past, the ancient Egyptians amply discovered the medicinal properties of plant life around them. In the Edwin Smith Papyrus there are many recipes to help heal different ailments. In a small section of this papyrus, there are five recipes one dealing with problems women may have had, three on techniques for refining the complexion, the fifth recipe for ailments that deal with the colon; the ancient Egyptians were known to use honey as medicine, the juices of pomegranates served as both an astringent and a delicacy." In the Ebers Papyrus, there are over 800 remedies. The recipes to cure constipation consisted of berries from the castor oil tree, Male Palm, Gengent beans, just to name a few. One recipe, to help headaches called for "inner-of-onion, fruit-of-the-am-tree, setseft-seeds, bone-of-the-sword-fish, redfish, skull-of-crayfish, cooked and abra-ointment." Some of the recommended treatments made use of incense. "Egyptian medicinal use of p
Egyptian faience is a sintered-quartz ceramic displaying surface vitrification which creates a bright lustre of various colours, with blue-green being the most common. Defined as a "material made from powdered quartz covered with a true vitreous coating in a transparent blue or green isotropic glass", faience is distinct from the crystalline compound Egyptian blue. Faience is more porous than glass proper, it can be cast in molds to create vessels and decorative objects. Although it contains the major constituents of glass and no clay until late periods, faience is discussed in surveys of ancient pottery, as in stylistic and art-historical terms objects made of it are closer to pottery styles than ancient Egyptian glass. Egyptian faience was widely used for small objects from beads to small statues, is found in both elite and popular contexts, it was the most common material for scarabs and other forms of amulet and ushabti figures, used in most forms of ancient Egyptian jewellery, as the glaze made it smooth against the skin.
Larger applications included cups and bowls, wall tiles used for temples. The well-known blue figures of a hippopotamus, placed in the tombs of officials, can be up to 20 cm long, approaching the maximum practical size for faience, though the Victoria and Albert Museum in London has a 215.9-centimetre faience sceptre from Egypt dated 1427–1400 BC. It is called "Egyptian faience" to distinguish it from faience, the tin-glazed pottery associated with Faenza in northern Italy. Egyptian faience was both exported in the ancient world and made locally in many places, is found in Mesopotamia, around the Mediterranean and in northern Europe as far away as Scotland; the term is used for the material wherever it was made and modern scientific analyses are the only way of establishing the provenance of simple objects such as the common beads. The term is therefore unsatisfactory in several respects, although clear in an Ancient Egyptian context, is rejected in museum and archaeological usage; the British Museum now calls this material "glazed composition", with the following note in the "information" box on their online collection database: "The term is used for objects with a body made of finely powdered quartz grains fused together with small amounts of alkali and/or lime through partial heating.
The bodies are colourless but natural impurities give them a brown or greyish tint. Colourants can be added to give it an artificial colour, it can be modelled by hand, thrown or moulded, hardens with firing. This material is used in the context of Islamic ceramics. Glazed composition is related to glass, but glass is formed by fusing the ingredients in a liquid melted at high temperature; this material is popularly called faience in the contexts of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Near East. However, this is a misnomer as these objects have no relationship to the glazed pottery vessels made in Faenza, from which the faience term derives. Other authors use the terms sintered quartz, glazed frit, composition, Egyptian Blue, paste or porcelain, although the last two terms are inappropriate as they describe imitation gems and a type of ceramic. Frit is technically a flux." From the inception of faience in the archaeological record of Ancient Egypt, the elected colors of the glazes varied within an array of blue-green hues.
Glazed in these colours, faience was perceived as substitute for blue-green materials such as turquoise, found in the Sinai Peninsula, lapis lazuli from Afghanistan. According to the archaeologist David Frederick Grose, the quest to imitate precious stones "explains why most all early glasses are opaque and brilliantly colored" and that the deepest blue color imitating lapis lazuli was the most sought-after; as early as the Predynastic graves at Naqada, Badar, el-Amrah, Harageh, Avadiyedh and El-Gerzeh, glazed steatite and faience beads are found associated with these semi-precious stones. The association of faience with turquoise and lapis lazuli becomes more conspicuous in Quennou's funerary papyrus, giving his title as the director of overseer of faience-making, using the word which means lapis lazuli, which by the New Kingdom had come to refer to the'substitute', faience; the symbolism embedded in blue glazing could recall both the Nile, the waters of heaven and the home of the gods, whereas green could evoke images of regeneration and vegetation.
The discovery of faience glazing has tentatively been associated with the copper industry: bronze scale and corrosion products of leaded copper objects are found in the manufacture of faience pigments. However, although the likelihood of glazed quartz pebbles developing accidentally in traces in copper smelting furnaces from the copper and wood ash is high, the regions in which these processes originate do not coincide. Although it appears that no glass was intentionally produced in Egypt before the Eighteenth Dynasty, it is that faience and glass were all made in close proximity or in the same workshop complex, since developments in one industry are reflected in others; such close relationship is reflected in the prominent similarity of the formulations of faience glaze and contemporary glass compositions. Despite the differences in the pyrotechnology of glass and faience, faience being worked cold, archaeological evidence suggests that New Kingdom glass and faience production was undertaken in the same workshops.
Faience has been defined as the first high technology ceramic, to emphasize its status as an
Bubastis known in Arabic as Tell-Basta or in Egyptian as Per-Bast, was an Ancient Egyptian city. Bubastis is identified with the biblical Pi-Beseth, it was the capital of its own nome, located along the River Nile in the Delta region of Lower Egypt, notable as a center of worship for the feline goddess Bast, therefore the principal depository in Egypt of mummies of cats. Its ruins are located in the suburbs of the modern city of Zagazig; the name of Bubastis in Egyptian is Pr-Bȝśt.t transcribed Per-Bast. PR means the second word is the name of the goddess Bast or Bastet; the phrase means "House of Bast". In Bohairic Coptic, the name is rendered Ⲡⲟⲩⲃⲁⲥϯ, Ⲡⲟⲩⲁⲥϯ or Ⲃⲟⲩⲁⲥϯ. Bubastis served as the capital of the nome of Am-Khent, the Bubastite nome, the 18th nome of Lower Egypt. Bubastis was situated southwest of Tanis, upon the eastern side of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile; the nome and city of Bubastis were allotted to the Calasirian division of the Egyptian war-caste. It became a royal residence after Shoshenq I, the first ruler and founder of the 22nd dynasty, became pharaoh in 943 BC.
Bubastis was its height during the 23rd. It declined after the conquest by Cambyses II in 525 BC, which heralded the end of the Saite 26th dynasty and the start of the Achaemenid Empire; the Twenty Second Dynasty of Egyptian monarchs consisted of nine, or, according to Eusebius of three Bubastite kings, during their reigns the city was one of the most considerable places in the Delta. To the south of Bubastis were the allotments of land with which Psamtik I rewarded the services of his Ionian and Carian mercenaries. After Bubastis was taken by the Persians, its walls were dismantled. From this period it declined, although it appears in ecclesiastical annals among the episcopal sees of the province Augustamnica Secunda. Bubastite coins of the age of Hadrian exist; the following is the description which Herodotus gives of Bubastis, as it appeared shortly after the period of the Persian invasion, 525 BC, Hamilton remarks that the plan of the ruins remarkably warrants the accuracy of this historical eye-witness.
Temples there are more spacious and costlier than that of Bubastis. It is after the following fashion. Except at the entrance, it is surrounded by water: for two canals branch off from the river, run as far as the entrance to the temple: yet neither canal mingles with the other, but one runs on this side, the other on that; each canal is a hundred feet wide, its banks are lined with trees. The propylaea are sixty feet in height, are adorned with sculptures nine feet high, of excellent workmanship; the Temple being in the middle of the city is looked down upon from all sides. Quite round the temple there goes a wall, adorned with sculptures. Within the inclosure is a grove of fair tall trees, planted around a large building in, the effigy; the form of that temple is each side being a stadium in length. In a line with the entrance is a road built of stone about three stadia long, leading eastwards through the public market; the road is about 400 feet broad, is flanked by exceeding tall trees. It leads to the temple of Hermes.
Bubastis was a center of worship for the feline goddess Bastet, sometimes called Bubastis after the city, who the Greeks identified with Artemis. The cat was the sacred and peculiar animal of Bast, represented with the head of a cat or a lioness and accompanies the deity Ptah in monumental inscriptions; the tombs at Bubastis were accordingly the principal depository in Egypt of the mummies of the cat. The most distinguished features of the city and nome of Bubastis were its oracle of Bast, the splendid temple of that goddess and the annual procession in honor of her; the oracle gained in popularity and importance after the influx of Greek settlers into the Delta, since the identification of Bast with Artemis attracted to her shrine both native Egyptians and foreigners. The festival of Bubastis was the most joyous and gorgeous of all in the Egyptian calendar as described by Herodotus: Barges and river craft of every description, filled with men and women, floated leisurely down the Nile; the men played on pipes of lotus.
The women on cymbals and tambourines, such as had no instruments accompanied the music with clapping of hands and dances, other joyous gestures. Thus did they while on the river: but when they came to a town on its banks, the barges were made fast, the pilgrims disembarked, the women sang, playfully mocked the women of that town and threw their clothes over their head; when they reached Bubastis held they a wondrously solemn feast: and more wine of the grape was drank in those days than in all the rest of the year. Such was the manner of this festival: and, it is said, that as many as seven hundred thousand pilgrims have been known to celebrate the Feast of Bast at the same time. Extant documents mention the names of three Christian bishops of Bubastis of the 4th and 5th centuries: Harpocration, one of the bishops ordained by Meletius of Lycopolis listed in 325 Hermon, a contemporary of Athanasius of Alexandria, in about 362 Iulianus at the Second Council of Ephesus in 449 The tomb of the late New Kingdom vizier Iuty was discovered in December 1964 in the "Cemetery of the Nobles" of Bubastis by the Egypti
Faiyum is a city in Middle Egypt. Located 100 kilometres southwest of Cairo, in the Faiyum Oasis, it is the capital of the modern Faiyum Governorate. Called Shedet in Egyptian, the Greeks called it Koine Greek: Κροκοδειλόπολις Krokodilópolis, the Romans Arsinoë, it is one of Egypt's oldest cities due to its strategic location. Its name in English is spelled as Fayum, Faiyum or Al Faiyūm. Faiyum was officially named Madīnet Al Faiyūm; the name Faiyum may refer to the Faiyum Oasis, although it is used by Egyptians today to refer to the city. The modern name of the city comes from Coptic ̀Ⲫⲓⲟⲙ /Ⲡⲉⲓⲟⲙ epʰiom/peiom, meaning the Sea or the Lake, which in turn comes from late Egyptian pꜣ-ymꜥ of the same meaning, a reference to the nearby Lake Moeris. Archaeological evidence has found occupations around the Fayum dating back to at least the Epipalaeolithic. Middle Holocene occupations of the area are most studied on the north shore of Lake Moeris, where Gertrude Caton Thompson and Elinor Wight Gardner did a number of excavations of Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic sites, as well as a general survey of the area.
The area has been further investigated by a team from the UCLA/RUG/UOA Fayum Project. In ancient Egypt, the city was called Shedet; the 10th-century Bible exegete, Saadia Gaon, thought el-Fayyum to have been the biblical city of Pithom, mentioned in Exodus 1:11. It was the most significant centre of the cult of the crocodile god Sobek. In consequence, the Greeks called it "Crocodile City", borrowed into Latin as Crocodīlopolis; the city worshipped a tamed sacred crocodile called in Koine Petsuchos, "the Son of Soukhos", adorned with gold and gem pendants. The Petsoukhos lived in a special temple pond and was fed by the priests with food provided by visitors; when Petsuchos died, it was replaced by another. Under the Ptolemaic Kingdom, the city was for a while called Ptolemais Euergétis. Ptolemy II Philadelphus renamed the city Arsinoë and the whole nome after the name of his sister-wife Arsinoe II, deified after her death as part of the Ptolemaic cult of Alexander the Great, the official religion of the kingdom.
Under the Roman Empire, Arsinoë became part of the province of Arcadia Aegypti. To distinguish it from other cities of the same name, it was called "Arsinoë in Arcadia". With the arrival of Christianity, Arsinoë became the seat of a bishopric, a suffragan of Oxyrhynchus, the capital of the province and the metropolitan see. Michel Le Quien gives the names of several bishops of Arsinoë, nearly all of them associated with one heresy or another; the Catholic Church, considering Arsinoë in Arcadia to be no longer a residential bishopric, lists it as a titular see. Fayyum was the seat of governor of the Sasanian Egypt. Faiyum is the source of some famous death masks or mummy portraits painted during the Roman occupation of the area; the Egyptians continued their practice of burying their dead, despite the Roman preference for cremation. While under the control of the Roman Empire, Egyptian death masks were painted on wood in a pigmented wax technique called encaustic—the Faiyum mummy portraits represent this technique.
While believed to represent Greek settlers in Egypt, modern studies conclude that the Faiyum portraits instead represent native Egyptians, reflecting the complex synthesis of the predominant Egyptian culture and that of the elite Greek minority in the city. Faiyum has several large bazaars, baths and a much-frequented weekly market; the canal called Bahr Yussef runs through its banks lined with houses. There are two bridges over the river: one of three arches, which carries the main street and bazaar, one of two arches, over, built the Qaitbay mosque, a gift from his wife to honor the Mamluk Sultan in Fayoum. Mounds north of the city mark the site of Arsinoe, known to the ancient Greeks as Crocodilopolis, where in ancient times the sacred crocodile kept in Lake Moeris was worshipped; the center of the city is on the canal, with four waterwheels that were adopted by the governorate of Fayoum as its symbol. Hanging Mosque, built when the Ottomans ruled Egypt Hawara, archeological site 27 km from the city Lahun Pyramids, 4 km outside the city Qaitbay Mosque, in the city, was built by the wife of the Mamluk Sultan Qaitbay Qasr Qarun, 44 km from the city Wadi Elrayan or Wadi Rayan, the largest waterfalls in Egypt, around 50 km from the city Wadi Al-Hitan or Valley of whales, a paleontological site in the Al Fayyum Governorate, some 150 km southwest of Cairo.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Köppen-Geiger climate classification system classifies its climate as hot desert; the highest record temperatures was 46 °C on June 13, 1965 and the lowest record temperature was 2 °C on January 8, 1966. Tefta Tashko-Koço, well known Albanian singer was born in Faiyum, where her family lived at that time. Saadia Gaon, the influential Jewish teacher of the early 10th century, was from Faiyum, called al-Fayyumi. Youssef Wahbi, a notable Egyptian actor, well known for his influence on the development of Egyptian cinema and theater. List of cities and towns in Egypt Book
The Nile is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa, is the longest river in Africa and in the world, though some sources cite the Amazon River as the longest. The Nile, about 6,650 km long, is an "international" river as its drainage basin covers eleven countries, Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Republic of the Sudan and Egypt. In particular, the Nile is the primary water source of Sudan; the river Nile has the White Nile and Blue Nile. The White Nile is considered to be the headwaters and primary stream of the Nile itself; the Blue Nile, however, is the source of most of the silt. The White Nile is longer and rises in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, with the most distant source still undetermined but located in either Rwanda or Burundi, it flows north through Tanzania, Lake Victoria and South Sudan. The Blue Nile flows into Sudan from the southeast; the two rivers meet just north of the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. The northern section of the river flows north entirely through the Sudanese desert to Egypt ends in a large delta and flows into the Mediterranean Sea.
Egyptian civilization and Sudanese kingdoms have depended on the river since ancient times. Most of the population and cities of Egypt lie along those parts of the Nile valley north of Aswan, nearly all the cultural and historical sites of Ancient Egypt are found along river banks. In the ancient Egyptian language, the Nile is called Ḥ'pī or Iteru, meaning "river". In Coptic, the word ⲫⲓⲁⲣⲱ, pronounced piaro or phiaro, means "the river", comes from the same ancient name. In Egyptian Arabic, the Nile is called en-Nīl while in Standard Arabic. In Biblical Hebrew: הַיְאוֹר, Ha-Ye'or or הַשִׁיחוֹר, Ha-Shiḥor; the English name Nile and the Arabic names en-Nîl and an-Nîl both derive from the Latin Nilus and the Ancient Greek Νεῖλος. Beyond that, the etymology is disputed. Hesiod at his Theogony refers that Nilus was one of son of Oceanus and Tethys. Another derivation of Nile might be related to the term Nil, which refers to Indigofera tinctoria, one of the original sources of indigo dye. Another possible etymology derives it from a Semitic Nahal, meaning "river".
The standard English names "White Nile" and "Blue Nile", to refer to the river's source, derive from Arabic names applied only to the Sudanese stretches which meet at Khartoum. With a total length of about 6,650 km between the region of Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean Sea, the Nile is the longest river on the African continent; the drainage basin of the Nile covers about 10 % of the area of Africa. Compared to other major rivers, the Nile carries little water; the Nile basin is complex, because of this, the discharge at any given point along the mainstem depends on many factors including weather, diversions and evapotranspiration, groundwater flow. Above Khartoum, the Nile is known as the White Nile, a term used in a limited sense to describe the section between Lake No and Khartoum. At Khartoum the river is joined by the Blue Nile; the White Nile starts in equatorial East Africa, the Blue Nile begins in Ethiopia. Both branches are on the western flanks of the East African Rift; the source of the Nile is sometimes considered to be Lake Victoria, but the lake has feeder rivers of considerable size.
The Kagera River, which flows into Lake Victoria near the Tanzanian town of Bukoba, is the longest feeder, although sources do not agree on, the longest tributary of the Kagera and hence the most distant source of the Nile itself. It is either the Ruvyironza, which emerges in Bururi Province, Burundi, or the Nyabarongo, which flows from Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda; the two feeder rivers meet near Rusumo Falls on the Rwanda-Tanzania border. In 2010, an exploration party went to a place described as the source of the Rukarara tributary, by hacking a path up steep jungle-choked mountain slopes in the Nyungwe forest found an appreciable incoming surface flow for many kilometres upstream, found a new source, giving the Nile a length of 6,758 km. Gish Abay is the place where the "holy water" of the first drops of the Blue Nile develop; the Nile leaves Lake Nyanza at Ripon Falls near Uganda, as the Victoria Nile. It flows north for some 130 kilometers, to Lake Kyoga; the last part of the 200 kilometers river section starts from the western shores of the lake and flows at first to the west until just south of Masindi Port, where the river turns north makes a great half circle to the east and north until Karuma Falls.
For the remaining part it flows westerly through the Murchison Falls until it reaches the northern shores of Lake Albert where it forms a significant river delta. The lake itself is on the border of DR Congo. After leaving Lake Albert, the river is known as the Albert Nile; the Nile river flows into South Sudan just south of Nimule. Just south of the town it has the confluence with the Achwa River; the Bahr al Ghazal, itself 716 kilometers (44
Elephantine ( EL-i-fan-TY-nee, -TEE-. Gazīrat il-Fantīn. There are archaeological sites on the island. Elephantine is 1,200 metres from north to south, is 400 metres across at its widest point; the layout of this and other nearby islands in Aswan can be seen from west bank hillsides along the Nile. The island is located just downstream of the First Cataract, at the southern border of Upper Egypt with Lower Nubia; this region above is referred to as Upper Egypt. The island may have received its name after its shape, which in aerial views is similar to that of an elephant tusk, or from the rounded rocks along the banks resembling elephants. Known to the Ancient Egyptians as Ibw "Elephant", the island of Elephantine stood at the border between Egypt and Nubia, it was an excellent defensive site for a city and its location made it a natural cargo transfer point for river trade. This border is near the Tropic of Cancer, the most northerly latitude at which the sun can appear directly overhead at noon and from which it appears to reverse direction or "turn back" at the solstices.
Elephantine was a fort. During the Second Intermediate Period, the fort marked the southern border of Egypt. According to ancient Egyptian religion, Elephantine was the dwelling place of Khnum, the ram-headed god of the cataracts, who guarded and controlled the waters of the Nile from caves beneath the island, he was worshipped here as part of a late triad of Egyptian deities. This "Elephantine Triad" included Anuket. Satis was worshipped from early times as a war goddess and protector of this strategic region of Egypt; when seen as a fertility goddess, she personified the bountiful annual flooding of the Nile, identified as her daughter, Anuket. The cult of Satis originated in the ancient city of Aswan; when the triad was formed, Khnum became identified as her consort and, was thought of as the father of Anuket. His role in myths changed and another deity was assigned his duties with the river. At that time his role as a potter enabled him to be assigned a duty in the creation of human bodies. Ongoing excavations by the German Archaeological Institute at the town have uncovered many findings, on display in the Aswan Museum located on the island, including a mummified ram of Khnum.
Artifacts dating back to prehistoric Egypt have been found on Elephantine. A rare calendar, known as the Elephantine Calendar of Things, which dates to the reign of Thutmose III during the Eighteenth Dynasty, was found in fragments on the island. In ancient times the island was an important stone quarry, providing granite for monuments and buildings all over Egypt. Prior to 1822, there were temples to Amenhotep III on the island. At that time they were destroyed during the campaign of Muhammad Ali, who had taken power in Egypt, to conquer Sudan. Both temples were intact prior to the deliberate demolition; the first temple was the Temple of Satet, it was founded around 3000 BC and enlarged and renovated over the next 3,000 years. There are records of an Egyptian temple to Khnum on the island as early as the Third Dynasty; this temple was rebuilt in the Late Period, during the Thirtieth Dynasty of Egypt, just before the foreign rule that followed in the Graeco-Roman Period. The Greeks formed the Ptolemaic dynasty during their three-hundred-year rule over Egypt and maintained the ancient religious customs and traditions, while associating the Egyptian deities with their own.
Most of the present day southern tip of the island is taken up by the ruins of the Temple of Khnum. These, the oldest ruins still standing on the island, are composed of a granite step pyramid from the Third Dynasty and a small temple built for the local Sixth Dynasty nomarch, Heqaib. In the Middle Kingdom, many officials, such as the local governors Sarenput I or Heqaib III, dedicated statues and shrines into the temple. There were forty-two such nomarch provinces created as regional governments that dated from the Old Kingdom through the Roman Period. A nilometer was a structure for measuring the Nile River's clarity and the water level during the annual flood season. There are two nilometers at Elephantine Island; the more famous is a corridor nilometer associated with the Temple of Satis, with a stone staircase that descends the corridor. It is one of the oldest nilometers in Egypt, last reconstructed in Roman times and still in use as late as the nineteenth century AD. Ninety steps that lead down to the river are marked with Arabic and hieroglyphic numerals.
Visible at the water's edge are inscriptions carved into the rock during the Seventeenth Dynasty. The other Nilometer is a rectangular basin located at the island's southern tip, near the Temple of Khnum and opposite the Old Cataract Hotel, it is the older of the two. One of the nilometers, though it is not certain. Many sources claim that the fabled "Well of Eratosthenes", famous in connection with Eratosthenes' calculation of the Earth's circumference, was located on the island. Strabo mentions a well, used to observe that Aswan lies on the Tropic of Cancer, but the reference is to a well at Aswan, not at Elephantine. Neither nilometer at Elephantine is suitable for the purpose, while the well at Aswan is lost; the Elephantine papyri are caches of legal documents and letters written in Aramaic, which document a Jewish