Homepage Timeline Maps A-Z index Learning

Koptos after the Late Period

Koptos was an important station on the way from the Nile valley over desert routes to the Red Sea ports. One of these ports was Myos Homos, which was relatively close to Koptos. However, the Red Sea has tempestuous and dangerous currents and air flows, and more southerly ports were preferred. With the foundation by Ptolemy II of the Red Sea port Berenike about 255 BC Koptos became especially important. The desert route to Berenike started normally at Edfu, but with the Theban rebellion about 207/206 the town was no longer part of the Ptolemaic empire, and the caravans may have had to start at Koptos instead. Berenike is mentioned in ancient literature as port for the import of African elephants, which were needed for warfare. However, it was also important for the trade with India and Arabia. Koptos was also the starting point for expedition to several quarries, which were very important especially for the Romans (Mons Claudianus for granite and quartz diorite).

Ptolemaic Period
Under Roman rule
UC 14523 UC 14528


Copyright © 2002 University College London. All rights reserved.