Thebes in the 22nd Dynasty to Late Period
By the late New Kingdom the political centre of Egypt was in the North. However Thebes remained an important city, sometimes even with its own local kings. In the Third Intermediate Period the institution of the 'god's wife of Amun' became very important. The king appointed a daughter to this position, which gave him control over Thebes. It is thought that these women were always virgins, so it was not possible for them to create a rival dynasty of their own. The successor of a 'god's wife' was formally appointed by adoption, doubtless arranged by the ruling king. The god's wife had her own estates, the managers of which were among the richest officials in Egyptian history, with the title high steward of the god's wife.
In the Third Intermediate Period an extended cemetery developed on the West Bank at Thebes. Mud brick chapels were built next to the mortuary temples of the New Kingdom tombs. At the Assasif many huge tombs were erected in the 25th and 26th Dynasty. They are among the most impressive monuments of the Late Period. In about 667 BC Thebes was sacked by the Assyrians. There are still some important construction works in Theban temples after this conquest, but in general the town seems to have lost its importance. In the funerary domain, however, Thebes still produced original and outstanding material as late as the Roman Period. Some of the finest coffins, and most funerary papyri, of the Ptolemaic Period are from Thebes.
Copyright © 2002 University College London. All rights reserved.