- Lycopolis and Lykopolis redirect here; for the ancient city bearing those names located in the delta of the Nile, see Lycopolis (Delta).
Asyut (أسيوط), is the capital of the modern Asyut Governorate, Egypt. The modern city is located at: , while the ancient city is located at: .
The name of the city is derived from early Egyptian Zawty
) (late Egyptian, Səyáwt
) into the Coptic Syowt
. In Graeco-Roman Egypt
, it was called Lycopolis
: Λυκόπολις, "ἡ Λύκων πόλις"), Lycon
, or Lyco
Around 3100 BC ancient Asyut was the capital of the Thirteenth Nome
of Upper Egypt
), seated on the western bank of the Nile
. The two most prominent gods
Asyut were Anubis
, both funerary deities.
During the First Intermediate Period, the rulers of "Zawty"; Khety I, Itefibi, and Khety II were supporters of the Herakleopolitan kings, of whose domain the Nome formed the southern limits. The conflict between this Nome and the southern Nomes under the rule of the Eleventh dynasty ended with the victory of Thebes and the decline of Asyut's importance.
The shield of a king named Recamai, who reigned in Upper Egypt (probably during the "shepherd dynasty" in the "Lower Country"), has been discovered in Asyut . Lycopolis has no remarkable ruins, but in the excavated chambers of the adjacent rocks are found mummies of wolves, confirming the origin of its name, as well as a tradition preserved by Diodorus Siculus , to the effect that an Aethiopian army, invading Egypt, was repelled beyond the city of Elephantine by herds of wolves. Osiris was worshipped under the symbol of a wolf at Lycopolis. He having, according to a myth, come "from the shades" under that form, to aid Isis and Horus in their combat with Typhon . Other Ancient Egyptian monuments discovered in Asyut include; the Asyut necropolis (west of the modern city), tombs which date to dynasties Nine, Ten and Twelve, and Ramessid tombs of Siese and Amenhotep.
In Graeco-Roman times, there was a distinct dialect of Coptic spoken in Asyut, known as "Lycopolitan", after the Greek name for the city. Lesser-used names for this dialect are "Sub-Akhmimic" and "Assiutic".
Today, the city of Asyut has almost 400,000 inhabitants. It is the Egyptian city with the highest Coptic Christian concentration. It is also home to the University of Asyut
, one of the largest universities
, and to the Lillian Trasher Orphanage
The Virgin Mary is reported to have appeared in Asyut. This apparition is recognized as official by the Coptic Orthodox Church.
People from Asyut
- Loprieno, Antonio: Ancient Egyptian: A Linguistic Introduction, Oxford U Press 1996. ISBN 0-521-44849-2
- Baines & Malek Cultural Atlas of Ancient Egypt, 2000. ISBN 0-8160-4036-2
- Kahl, Jochem: Ancient Asyut: The first Synthesis after Three Hundred Years of Research. The Asyut Project vol. I. Wiesbaden 2008. ISBN-13: 978-3447056663