Bubastis served as the capital of the nome of Am-Khent, the Bubastite nome, the 18th nome of Lower Egypt. Bubastis was situated southwest of Tanis, upon the eastern side of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile. The nome and city of Bubastis were allotted to the Calasirian division of the Egyptian war-caste.
It became a royal residence after Shoshenq I, the first ruler of the 22nd dynasty, became pharaoh in 943 BC. Bubastis was at its height during this dynasty and the 23rd. It declined after the Persian conquest by Cambyses II in 525 BC, which heralded the end of the Saite 26th dynasty and the start of the Achaemenid dynasty.
The Twenty Second Dynasty of Egyptian monarchs consisted of nine, or, according to Eusebius (Chronic.) of three Bubastite kings, and during their reigns the city was one of the most considerable places in the Delta. Immediately to the south of Bubastis were the allotments of land with which Psammetichus rewarded the services of his Ionian and Carian mercenaries (Herod. ii. 154); and on the northern side of the city commenced the Great Canal which Pharaoh Neco constructed between the Nile and the Red Sea. (Herod. ii. 158.) After Bubastis was taken by the Persians, its walls were dismantled. (Diod. xvi. 51). From this period it gradually declined, although it appears in ecclesiastical annals among the episcopal sees of the province Augustamnica Secunda. Bubastite coins of the age of Hadrian exist.
The following is the description which Herodotus gives of Bubastis, as it appeared shortly after the period of the Persian invasion, 525 BC, and Mr. Hamilton remarks that the plan of the ruins remarkably warrants the accuracy of this historical eye-witness. (Herod. ii. 59, 60.):
The most distinguished features of the city and nome of Bubastis were its oracle of Bast, the splendid temple of that goddess and the annual procession in honor of her. The oracle gained in popularity and importance after the influx of Greek settlers into the Delta, since the identification of Bast with Artemis attracted to her shrine both native Egyptians and foreigners.
The festival of Bubastis was the most joyous and gorgeous of all in the Egyptian calendar as described by Herodotus:
The ruins attest the original magnificence of the city. The entire circuit of the walls is, according to Hamilton (p. 367) not less than three miles (5 km) in extent. Within the principal inclosure, where there has been the greatest accumulation of the ruins of successive edifices, is a large pile of granite-blocks which appear, from their forms and sculptures, to have belonged to numerous obelisks and gigantic propyla. The mounds which encompassed the ancient city were originally begun by Sesostris and completed by the Ethiopian invader Sabakos, who employed criminals upon these and similar works. (Herod. ii. 137.) The mounds were intended to redeem and rescue the site of the city, and possibly its gardens and groves, from the inundations of the Nile. From the general aspect of the ruins, and from the description given of it by Herodotus (ii. 138), they appear to have been raised concentrically around the temples of Bast and Hermes, so that the whole place resembled the interior of an inverted cone. The only permanent buildings in Bubastis seem to have been the temples and the granite walls and corridors.
A Naos of Nekhthorheb from Bubastis; religious iconography and temple building in the 30th dynasty.(Brief Article)(Book Review)
Feb 01, 2007; 9780861591565 A Naos of Nekhthorheb from bubastis; religious iconography and temple building in the 30th dynasty. Spencer,...