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Hi there Chris, I’m a student and writer from South Africa, I was wondering if you could clear up for me whether Egyptian cities were walled cities-similar to what we would see in Rome or Phoenicia- other sources tend to be very confusing in how they described the construction. Thanks
hi Martin, there are no hard, fast rules here and it’s probably not a good idea to generalise given how many settlelents of various sizes and kinds there must have been throughout Egyptian territory over the 3,000 years we tend to think the ancient civilisation lasted – but in general the answer I think is ‘no’ the cities were not walled. A few thoughts: 1) Perhaps the best preserved example of ancient Egyptian city is the capital of pharaoh Akhenaten at the site we now call Amarna (see http://www.amarnaproject.com/) and this had no one enclosure wall, perhaps because it was not felt necessary and as it would have restricted expansion. 2) Certain settlements did have walls e.g. the famous forts in Nubia during the Middle and New Kingdoms – the best example of which was that at Buhen. But these had a very particular function – essentially to guard the southern frontier against attack. 3) The larger temples were generally surrounded by substantial enclosure walls. These surrounded not only the cult buildings but other buildings including in some cases houses. Some of these enclosures later became occupied as towns when there was a need for settlements to be better defended e.g. the enclosure surrounding the mortuary temple of Ramesses III in western Thebes, which was occupied as a town for centuries; it’s modern name, ‘Medinet Habu’ means something like the ‘city of Habu’.
An excellent recent overview of the subject is, Snape, The Complete Cities of Ancient Egypt https://thamesandhudson.com/complete-cities-of-ancient-egypt-9780500051795
Hope this helps!
Respect… I’m Aleksandar from Belgrade, I watched your shows and I’m also a fan of the life of Alexander the Great. I saw that you are looking for a grave in Alexandria, Egypt. How sure are you that the tomb is not in Pella, Greece…the graves of his father and mother were found there…maybe it is realistic that the King of Greece will be buried right where you were born. Thank you..regards and all the best
Hi Aleksandar, Well, I can’t say I’m ‘sure’ the tomb of Alexander is in Egypt but just about all the sources we have suggest that’s where he was buried and that his body remained there – in Alexandria – for several centuries where it was visited by, among others, a number of Roman emperors. I tried to summarise the evidence in chapter 6 of my book on lost tombs (https://chrisnaunton.com/searching-for-the-lost-tombs-of-egypt/) and also in this talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AllWZ5UlQT8&t=987s