216 Route 19. AKHMIM. From Assiut
capitals and a richly articulated apse. — To the N.W. is Edfa, the ancient
Aphroditopolis, capital of the tenth nome of Upper Egypt.
57*/2 M. Akhmim, a steamboat and mail station on the E.
bank, also reached from Sohag by a shorter land-route, is a thriving
little town with 28,000 inhab., including 8000 Copts. The weekly
market on Wed. is much frequented, and the bazaar is well-stocked.
The numerous cotton mills produce the cloth for the blue shirts of
the fellahin and for the long shdla (pi. shdldt), or shawls with fringes,
which the poorer classes wear on state occasions and for protection
against cold. Akhmim stands on the site of Khemmis or Panopolis,
which was the capital of a separate nome. The Egyptians named it
Epu and also Khente-Min, after its god, the ithyphallic Min (p. cxxvi),
whence proceed the Coptic Shmin and the Arabic Akhmim.
Herodotus (11,91) distinguishes the citiiens of Khemmis as the only
Egyptians who favoured Greek customs and relates that they erected a
temple to Perseus, worshipped him with Hellenic rites, and held games
in his honour. The citizens claimed Perseus as a native of their town
and told the garrulous Halicarnassian that he had visited Khemmis, when
on his way to Libya in pursuit of the Gorgon's head, and had recognised
them as his kinsmen. A statue of him stood in the temple. From time
to time the hero revisited Khemmis, leaving, as a sign of his presence,
a sandal, two ells long; the finding of this was considered a portent of
good fortune. — Strabo mentions the weavers and stone-cutters of Panopolis.
— Khemmis still flourished in the Roman period, and its ancient and
famous temple was finally completed in the 12th year of Trajan. After
Christianity established itself here the vicinity of Panopolis became crowded
with convents. Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, who had been banished
to the oasis of Hibeh (Khargeh) on account of his disbelief in the divine
motherhood of the Virgin Mary, was attacked there by the plundering
Blemmyes, and carried captive into the Thebai'd, where he surrendered
himself ta the prefect of Panopolis, to avoid a charge of wilful flight. He
died in Panopolis-Akhmim. Even after the conquest of Egypt by Islam
the temple of the 'great town1 of Akhmim was, as Abulfeda and other
Arabs relate, among the most important remains of the days of the Pharaohs.
The temple ruins now lie outside the town, to the N. The temple was
dedicated to Min (Pan), the town-god Of one of these temples the only
remains are a few stones of the 18th Dynasty and some scanty fragments
of a building of the Ptolemaic and Roman period. These are reached by
the water when the Nile overflows its banks and are gradually being
swept away. The second temple, farther to the N.W., built, according to
the above-mentioned inscription, under Trajan, is represented by a few
In 1884 an extensive Necropolis was discovered among the low hills
about 3 M. to the N.E. of Akhmim. The route thither leads via (2!/4 M.)
el-Hawdwish, in a hill beyond which are numerous tombs of the New Empire
mingled with some of the Ancient Empire. To the N. and W. is a Christian
cemetery, of the 5-15th cent., and in the vicinity is a Coptic convent. The
tombs to the N., which are the oldest, date from the Roman, Ptolemaic, and
Egyptian periods. Farther up the mountain are tombs of the 6th Dynasty.
— To the S. of Akhmim is a rock-chapel constructed under King Eye
Continuing our journey up the Nile, we soon see, close to the
E. bank, the conspicuous convent-village of Der el-Hadid, resembl¬
ing a fortress. About 100 men, women, and children occupy the
convent. The church is lighted by cupolas.
77 M. El-Menshiyeh (el-Menchah), a steamboat and railway station
on the W. bank, is merely a peasants' town, with 11,000 inhab. and