History. THEBES. 24. Route. 229
uncertainty. We know only that it was the capital of a nome,
and that it was ruled by princes of its own, whose tombs (6th Dyn.)
were discovered at Drah Abu'l Negga. The local deity was the
hawk-headed Mont, a god of war, who was also worshipped in the
neighbouring town of Hermonthis. Several other places lay near
Weset on the E. bank; among these were Epet-Esowet (the modern
Karnak) and South Opet (modern Luxor), which were afterwards in¬
corporated with the great 'city' and subjected to the same rulers.
When the Theban princes assumed the royal dignity during
the Middle Empire, Thebes rose to a more commanding, position.
The city was adorned with temples, amongst which the large shrines
raised in Epet-Esowet and South Opet to their local deity Ammon
were conspicuous. But the greatness of Thebes dates only from the
beginning of the New Empire. The liberation of the country from
the Hyksos and the reunion of the empire was directed from Thebes,
and that city continued for centuries to be the favourite seat of the
Pharaohs, and the reservoir into which flowed the untold treasures
exacted as tribute or brought as booty from conquered nations. A
large share of this wealth was bestowed upon Ammon. The mag¬
nificent and gigantic temple, erected at this period to the god, is
still one of the chief sights of Thebes. The grandees of the kingdom
esteemed it an honour to become priests of Ammon, the schools be¬
side his temples flourished, and the kings offered their richest gifts
to this god, from whom they expected a surer fulfilment of their
petitions than from any other. The fame of the huge city early
reached the ears even of the Greeks. In a possibly interpolated pas¬
sage of the Iliad (IX, 379-384), Achilles, enraged with Agamem¬
non, assures Ulysses that he will never more unite in council or in
deed with the great Atrides: —
"Ten times as much, and twenty times were vain; the high pil'd store"
"Of rich Mycense, and if he ransack wide earth for more,"
"Search old .Orchomenus for gold, and by the fertile stream"
"Where, in Egyptian Thebes, the heaps of precious ingots gleam,"
"The hundred-gated Thebes, where twice ten score in martial state"
"Of valiant men with steeds and cars march through each massy gate."
The epithet £xon:6[X7toXo;, i.e. 'hundred-gated', here used by
Homer, was also applied by later classical authors to Th,ebes. Diodorus,
Strabo, Pliny, and Stephanus of Byzantium all make use of it,
referring to the gates of the town, as symbols of its size and power.
The persecution of the god Ammon by Amenophis IV. (p. xcix)
and the temporary transference of the royal residence to Tell el-
'Amarna (p. 193) affected Thebes but slightly. Its ruined temples
were rebuilt under Sethos I. and Ramses II., and the wealth of the
god became greater than ever. An idea of riie endowments of the
temple of Ammon may be gleaned from the fact that 3/a of the gifts
lavished by Ramses HI. upon the gofls of Egypt fell to the share of
Ammon, so that, for example, of 113,433 slaves, uo fewer than