Lower Egypt

Lower Egypt (Arabic: مصر السفلى Miṣr as-Suflā, Coptic: ⲧⲥⲁϦⲏⲧ Tsakhit) is the northernmost region of Egypt, which consists of the fertile Nile Delta, between Upper Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea — from El Aiyat, south of modern-day Cairo, and Dahshur. Historically, the Nile River split into seven branches of the delta in Lower Egypt. Lower Egypt was divided into nomes and began to advance as a civilization after 3600 BC.[1] Today, it contains two major channels that flow through the delta of the Nile River.

Lower Egypt

ⲧⲥⲁϦⲏⲧ, ⲡⲥⲁⲙⲉⲛϩⲓⲧ
مصر السفلى
Unknown–c. 3150 BCE
Common languagesAncient Egyptian
Ancient Egyptian religion
Unknown (first)
 c. 3150 BCE
Unknown (last)
c. 3150 BCE
Succeeded by
Early Dynastic Period (Egypt)
Today part of Egypt
Map of Lower Egypt showing important sites that were occupied during the Protodynastic Period of Egypt (clickable map)


In Ancient Egyptian Lower Egypt was known as mḥw which means "north".[2] Later on during Antiquity and the Middle Ages, Greeks and Romans called it Κάτω Αἴγυπτος or Aegyptus Inferior both meaning "Lower Egypt". Native Coptic Egyptian population carried on using the old name related to north – Tsakhit (Coptic: ⲧⲥⲁϦⲏⲧ) or Psanamhit (Coptic: ⲡⲥⲁⲛⲉⲙϩⲓⲧ) "Northern part", which they also divided into three regions – western part called ⲛⲓⲫⲁⲓⲁⲧ Niphaiat ("Libyans"), central part called ⲡⲉⲧⲙⲟⲩⲣ Badmur ("the one which bounds, girds") and eastern one called ϯⲁⲣⲁⲃⲓⲁ Diarabia ("Arabia").[3]


In ancient times, Pliny the Elder, in Natural History (Book 5, chapter 11), said that upon reaching the delta the Nile split into seven branches (from east to west): the Pelusiac, the Tanitic, the Mendesian, the Phatnitic, the Sebennytic, the Bolbitine, and the Canopic. Today there are two principal channels that the Nile takes through the river's delta: one in the west at Rashid and one in the east at Damietta.

The delta region is well watered, crisscrossed by channels and canals.

The climate in Lower Egypt is milder than that of Upper Egypt owing primarily to its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. Temperatures are less extreme and rainfall is more abundant.


It was divided into twenty districts called nomes, the first of which was at el-Lisht. Because Lower Egypt was mostly undeveloped scrubland, filled with all types of plant life such as grasses and herbs, the organization of the nomes underwent several changes.

The capital of Lower Egypt was Memphis. Its patron goddess was the cobra goddess Wadjet. Lower Egypt was represented by the Low Red Crown Deshret, and its symbols were the papyrus and the bee.

By about 3600 BC, Neolithic Egyptian societies along the Nile River had based their culture on the raising of crops and the domestication of animals.[4] Shortly after 3600 BC Egyptian society began to grow and advance rapidly toward refined civilization.[1] A new and distinctive pottery, which was related to the pottery in the Southern Levant, appeared during this time. Extensive use of copper became common during this time.[1] The Mesopotamian process of sun-dried bricks, and architectural building principles—including the use of the arch and recessed walls for decorative effect—became popular during this time.[1]

Concurrent with these cultural advances, a process of unification of the societies and towns of the upper Nile River, or Upper Egypt, occurred. At the same time the societies of the Nile Delta, or Lower Egypt also underwent a unification process.[1] Warfare between Upper and Lower Egypt occurred often.[1] During his reign in Upper Egypt, King Narmer defeated his enemies in the Delta and merged the Kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt under his single rule.[5]

List of kings of the Predynastic Period of Lower Egypt

The Palermo stone, a royal annal written in the mid Fifth Dynasty (c. 2490 BC c. 2350 BC) records a number of kings reigning over Lower Egypt before Narmer. These are completely unattested outside these inscriptions:


In contrast, the following kings are attested through archeological finds from Sinai and Lower Egypt: Double Falcon, Crocodile.

List of nomes

NumberEgyptian NameCapitalModern name of capital siteEnglish Translation
1Inebu-hedjIneb Hedj / Men-nefer / Menfe (Memphis)Mit RahinaWhite Walls
2KhensuKhem (Letopolis)AusimCow's thigh
3AhmentImu (Apis)Kom el-HisnWest
4Sapi-ResPtkhekaTantaSouthern shield
5Sap-MehZau (Sais)Sa el-HagarNorthern shield
6KhasetKhasu (Xois)SakhaMountain bull
7A-ment(Hermopolis Parva, Metelis)DamanhurWest harpoon
8A-btTjeku / Per-Atum (Heroonpolis, Pithom)Tell el-MaskhutaEast harpoon
9AtiDjed (Busiris)Abu Sir BaraAndjeti
10Ka-khemHut-hery-ib (Athribis)Banha (Tell Atrib)Black bull
11Ka-hesebTaremu (Leontopolis)Tell el-UrydamHeseb bull
12Theb-kaTjebnutjer (Sebennytos)SamanudCalf and Cow
13Heq-AtIunu (Heliopolis)Materiya (suburb of Cairo)Prospering Sceptre
14Khent-abtTjaru (Sile, Tanis)Tell Abu SefaEastmost
15TehutBa'h / Weprehwy (Hermopolis Parva)BaqliyaIbis
16KhaDjedet (Mendes)Tell el-RubˁFish
17SemabehdetSemabehdet (Diospolis Inferior)Tell el-BalamunThe throne
18Am-KhentPer-Bastet (Bubastis)Tell Bastah (near Zagazig)Prince of the South
19Am-PehuDja'net (Leontopolis Tanis)Tell Nebesha or San el-HagarPrince of the North
20SopduPer-SopduSaft el-HinnaPlumed Falcon

See also


  1. Carl Roebuck, The World of Ancient Times (Charles Scribner's Sons: New York, 1966) p. 52-53.
  2. "TM Places". www.trismegistos.org. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  3. Champollion, Jean-François (1814). L'Égypte sous les pharaons, ou recherches sur la géographie, la religion, la langue, les écritures et l'histoire de l'Égypte avant l'invasion de Cambyse. Paris: Bure. p. 5.
  4. Carl Roebuck, The World of Ancient Times (Charles Scribner's Sons Publishing: New York, 1966) p. 51.
  5. Carl Roebuck, The World of Ancient Times (Charles Scribner's Sons Publishers: New York, 1966), p. 53.
  6. Breasted (1909) p.36
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