why is upper egypt in the south
The union of Upper and Lower Egypt is depicted by knotted papyrus and reed plants. The binding motif represents both harmony through linkage and domination through containment. The duality is an important part of royal iconography. Sometimes the duality is further extended by having the knotted plants extend and bind foreign foes (both from the North and the South) as well. During the first dynasty dualistic royal titles emerge, including the King of Upper and Lower Egypt (
nsw-bi. tj ) title which combines the plant representing Upper Egypt and a bee representing Lower Egypt. The other dualistic title is the or Nebty name. The two ladies as, the goddess associated with in Upper Egypt, and, the goddess associated with in Lower Egypt.
There are many depictions of the ritual unifications of the Two Lands. It is not known if this was perhaps a rite that would have been enacted at the beginning of a reign, or merely a symbolic representation. Many of the depictions of the unification show two gods binding the plants. Often the gods are and, or on occasion Horus and. There are several examples of Barque stands from the reigns of ( ), ( ), and (Gebel Barkal) that show two river gods performing the rite. This matches a scene from the Temple at from the time of. There are only a handful of scenes that show the King himself performing the ritual. All of these are from barque stands and date to the reigns of, and.
The latter two may be copies of the first one. If you look at a map of Egypt, Lower Egypt is above Upper Egypt. That causes a lot of confusion because it seems to be backwards. On the map, Upper Egypt is lower than Lower Egypt. Most people and books will tell you that "Upper Egypt" is called that because the land is higher up in the mountains. The land in "Lower Egypt" is lower down at the coast. That may be true, but MummyFriends thinks there is a simpler explanation: in ancient times, maps were upside down! They weren't really upside down, of course, but they were drawn with South at the top rather than North, which is always at the top of our maps.
There are very few examples of ancient maps, but many of those that do exist have South at the top. Maps varied over time and North didn't become the universal standard until after Columbus's voyages. If you look at a map of Egypt upside down, you will see that (2) The "Nile Delta" now looks like a delta! Delta is the Greek letter "D". It looks like a triangle, with a flat bottom. The Greeks called the part of the Nile that reached the sea the "Delta" because it breaks into several smaller rivers than fan out. That part of Egypt is still called the "Nile Delta" today. But on our maps, it doesn't look like a delta: it looks like an upside-down delta.
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