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Temple of the WorldSanctuaries, Cults, and Mysteries of Ancient Egypt$
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Miroslav Verner

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9789774165634

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774165634.001.0001

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Hermopolis: The City of the Eight

Hermopolis: The City of the Eight

(p.142) (p.143) (p.144) (p.145) 4 Hermopolis: The City of the Eight
Temple of the World

Miroslav Verner

American University in Cairo Press

On the west bank of the Nile, about forty kilometres south of Minya, the metropolis of Middle Egypt, lies a site that is rarely visited by tourists but archaeologically very important?Ashmunayn. Its modern Arab name is derived from the Coptic ‘Shmoun,’ which is in turn derived from the Egyptian ‘Khemenu’ (‘City of the Eight’). This unusual name refers to the Eight?that is, four pairs of frog (the male element) and snake (the female element) primordial gods, who were worshiped here from the earliest times. In Greek the city's name was Hermopolis. Hermolopis was linked to the Nile by an artificial canal. Another canal connected the city with its cemetery. In the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods there was a large paved area where festivals and processions were held in the center of the city. The shrine of the primordial gods the Ogdoad was probably located in the southeast part of the sacred district. The title of the high priest of Hermopolis indirectly shows that the god Thoth was venerated in Hermopolis alongside the Ogdoad from as early as the Old Kingdom. Thoth was a very important god with a wide range of powers.

Keywords:   Hermopolis, City of Eight, Ogdoad, Thoth, Hermes Trismegistus, Antinoüs, Miroslav Verner

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