Kom el-Hisn is one of the most ancient and important towns in the
western Delta region of the Nile. In antiquity it was situated near a branch of the
Nile which has since shifted eastward, and it was also near the desert edge on the route
to the Libyan frontier. The name in Arabic means "Hill of the Fort," and this
probably refers to the rectangular mudbrick temple enclosure of the ancient temple
of Het-Hert, much of which still remained a century ago. Sadly, a great deal of the
site has been converted to agricultural fields, with local farmers having removed most of
the large earthen temple walls. The little which is left of the Old Kingdom and
Middle Kingdom community there is also falling prey to agricultural expansion.
The remains of the temple of Het-Hert/Sekhmet at Imau
The ancient site was called Imu, or "imAw,"
meaning the plural of a type of tree in the Kemetic language, and in texts we find it
mentioned since the 5th dynasty. From the Late Period, it is referred to as
"pr-nbt-imau" or Domain of the Mistress of Imau. Inscriptions from the Middle
Kingdom note that Het-Hert (as well as Her other side, Sekhmet) was the principal deity
worshipped here, and the head of a statue of King Amenemhet II contains an inscription
denoting him as "beloved of Het-Hert, Mistress of Imau." Both Het-Hert and
Sekhmet were denoted as "Mistress of Imau." More information about Het-Hert's
worship here comes from the grave of Khesuwer, also from the Middle Kingdom. He was
a priest of Het-Hert and Supervisor of the Priests and of the temple precinct. His
designation as Chief of the Harim and Chief of the Maidens probably denotes a position as
supervisor of the women who were in the service of Het-Hert. During the 19th Dynasty,
Ramesses II renovated the temple of Het-Hert, and in the 22nd Dynasty, Sheshonq III
It is probable that Kom el-Hisn was a specialized cattle-rearing center, sending most of
its herds to Memphis and other cult and settlement areas. In the same nome as Kom
el-Hisn was another town designated as "The Estate of the Cattle," or Hwt-iHwt, which was one of the oldest of the state
foundations in all of Egypt, dating to the reign of King Den of the 1st Dynasty. The
goddess Sekhat-Heru, the sacred cow associated with Het-Hert who provided milk and
offerings, was also worshipped in this region, and the town "Hut-Sekhat-Heru"
was named in her honor.
Reference for image
Wilkinson, Richard H., The Temples of Ancient Egypt
Allam, Schafik, Beiträge zum Hathorkult (bis zum Ende des Mittleren
Bard, Kathryn A., Encyclopedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, 1999.
Helck, Wolfgang. "Kom el-Hisn." Lexikon der Ägyptologie, Band
Rössler-Köhler, Ursula, "Sechat-Hor." Lexikon der Ägyptologie, Band
Wilkinson, Richard H., The Temples of Ancient Egypt, 2000.
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