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Ancient Egypt
1. Introduction
2. People
3. Life styles
4. Culture
5. Education and Science
6. Society
7. Economy
8. Government
9. Cities and Villages
10. Language
11. Religion
12. Kings / periods
13. History
14. Map

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Open map of Ancient EgyptAncient Egypt / Cities and Villages /
Ancient Egyptian: Djedet; Per-Banebdjedet; Anpet


Mendes, Egypt

Ancient city and short-time capital of Egypt in the Nile Delta, next to modern Tell al-Rub'a, 35 km east of modern Mansura.
Mendes was inhabited since pre-dynastic times, and remained a substantial city for more than 3000 years. When abandoned, it appears that neglect caused its canal to silt up, eventually making resettlement unattractive.
Its period as national capital lasted only about 19 years, 399-ca.380 BCE, during the 29th Dynasty. It is, however, questioned whether it ever became effective capital, or was just formally the home of the national rulers.
The area is about 3km long and 1 km wide. To the northwest, a cemetery of sacred rams have been identified. Local burial cults involved the use of mastabas. The oldest surviving religious structure is a naos from the 26th Dynasty (6th century). It was noted in the 5th century that goats were sacrificed at Mendes; sheep were preferred elsewhere in Egypt. This information is, however, contested by many scholars, suggesting that it was a misunderstanding.
The local cult of Mendes was centered around a triad, the fish goddess, Hat-Mehit, her husband, the ram god, Banebdjedet, and their son, Harpocrates. Originally, Hat-Mehit was the chief deity, but during the 2nd Dynasty, Banebdjedet would replace her in importance. Banebdjedet became known as the Ram of Mendes.

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By Tore Kjeilen