Name designating the city of Thebes, in Egypt, and equivalent to "No, the city of the god Amon"; found in Nah. iii. 8 (comp. Jer. xlvi. 25, where Amon is spoken of as the god of No). The current form is the later Hebrew pronunciation of the older "Na." This is nearly equivalent to the Assyrian "Nē," which is modified from "Na'" by the influence of the guttural. The word is Egyptian and means the "city" par excellence. Thebes was the greatest of the ancient Egyptian cities (observe the repetition of the name in Ezek. xxx. 14-16). It stood at the very center of the Nile traffic, and was distant about 500 miles by the river from the Mediterranean and about 110 miles from the border of Ethiopia (Cush), of whose trade it was the emporium.

Thebes was originally the capital of the fourth nome of Upper Egypt (Pathros). Early in the third millennium B.C. it was made the seat of the eleventh dynasty. But it was not until the expulsion of the Hyksos (about 1570 B.C.) that it became the permanent capital. Under the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties it attained the height of its splendor. The most famous kings of Egypt, Thothmes III. and Rameses II., adorned it with magnificent structures, the remains of which now form the principal ruins of Karnak and Luxor. After the establishment of the Ethiopian dynasty the city lost its prestige. Its decline was hastened by its repeated capture by Assurbanipal during the native uprisings against the Assyrian suzerainty (667-663 B.C.). Since the days of the Ptolemies it has been the great ruined city of Egypt. The Targum and Gen. R. (i, beginning), and also Judahha-Levi, translate No-Amon by Alexandria.

  • See the bibliography to the article Egypt, Ancient and Biblical, in Jew. Encyc. v. 60 (especially works on its history and art);
  • Baedeker, Egypt.
E. C. J. F. McC.
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