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The Nomes of Ancient Egypt

In the Greco-Roman era, the provinces of ancient Egypt numbered 22 for Upper Egypt, and
20 for Lower Egypt. During this period the administrative areas were called nomes, generally
meaning a territory under the control of one governor (nomarch). However, each province
was originally known as a spAt (Sepat), which was the name for a district. Most of the
administrators of each province, during the Old and Middle Kingdoms, levied taxes,
administered justice, and maintained an army.


Early southern confederations, ca. 3500-3000 BCE:
During the proto-dynastic period, three powerful, large-scale socio-political units emerged in
Upper Egypt. One was centred at This-Abydos, another was centred at Nubt-Naqada, and
the third at Nekhen (Hierakonpolis). These “confederacies” controlled territories much larger
than the areas of the nomes of later times.

1

1 Manley [1996], p.22
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