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Gau prince in hieroglyphics
Old empire
G1 A1 N24
X1 Z1

Ḥrj-tp- U-A725 LATIN SMALL LETTER EGYPTOLOGICAL AIN.gif3-sp3t The great colonel of
the Gau
Old empire
F4 X1


Hatia (Hati-a)
Gaufürst, Count, Mayor

Gaufürst (also Nomarch ; from ancient Greek νομἀρχης nomárchēs , German 'Commander of a Gaue with the Egyptians' ) Ancient Egypt is a modern, rather vague, term for the administrator of a Gaues . He is often vaguely referred to as “Nomarch” (from ancient Greek νόμος nómos , German for “the allocated, the law” , which is here specifically translated as “Gau”). The prince had legal , military and theological duties. His main titles were in the First Intermediate Period and in the early Middle Kingdom "great head of a province" and since the Middle Kingdom "mayor" ( Hatia ).

The Gaue

The research partly assumes that the Gaue were initially independent principalities and, after the unification of Egypt, administrative districts . Most of the districts have been documented by name since the Old Kingdom . They are all listed in the White Chapel of Sesostris I in Karnak, but are still of importance up to Ptolemaic times . There were 42 districts in Egypt, 22 of them in Upper and 20 in Lower Egypt .

The institution

The development of the Gau princes is difficult to follow for the early Old Kingdom . Sometimes the king seems to have sent court officials to the provinces in order to administer them. These court officials are mostly known from their tombs in the residence. But there were also local families, as large provincial graves show. These tombs are often not labeled, so that hardly anything can be said about the people buried here. An important title was adj-mer - "Canal graves". This indicates the important task of maintaining the local sewer systems.

At the end of the 5th dynasty there are more and more inscribed graves in the provinces. They prove that the guest princes partly come from the residence , but also descend from local families. The office seems to have become largely hereditary. In the 6th dynasty the title “great head of the province” appears, which remained the main title of these persons until the early Middle Kingdom . In addition, they are often “heads of priests”, which underlines their religious leadership position. In the first interim period , the title hatia - "Mayor" - became more and more important. Especially in the Middle Kingdom, the normal series of titles for the district princes is “mayor” and “head of the priests”. In the 12th Dynasty in particular, they were wealthy officials who could afford large, monumental tombs.

Under Sesostris III. their power was severely curtailed, although the office continued to exist on a hereditary basis. The provinces were probably divided into the administration of individual cities, each with a mayor. Especially from the Second Intermediate Period there is again evidence that some local families came to particular power. In the New Kingdom , the administration of the late Middle Kingdom continued. In the provincial towns there were individual mayors, but no longer actual Gau princes.


  • Detlef Franke : The sanctuary of the Heqaib on Elephantine. History of a provincial shrine in the Middle Kingdom (= studies on the archeology and history of ancient Egypt. Volume 9). Heidelberger Orientverlag, Heidelberg 1994, ISBN 3-927552-17-8 (at the same time: University, habilitation paper, Heidelberg 1991).
  • Nathalie Favry: Le Nomarque sous le règne de Sésostris Ier (= Les institutions dans l'Égypte ancienne. Volume 1). Presses de l'Université Paris-Sorbonne, Paris 2004, ISBN 2-84050-276-3 (also: University, dissertation, Lille 1999).

Individual evidence

  1. a b Rainer Hannig : Large Concise Dictionary Egyptian - German. (2800-950 BC). The language of the pharaohs (= Hannig-Lexica. Volume 1 = Cultural history of the ancient world . Volume 64). Marburg Edition, 4th, revised edition. Philipp von Zabern, Mainz 2006, ISBN 3-8053-1771-9 , pp. 539, 587 and 749.
  2. ^ Wilhelm Pape , Max Sengebusch (arrangement): Concise dictionary of the Greek language . 3rd edition, 6th impression. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig 1914 ( [accessed April 10, 2019]).
  3. D. Franke: The sanctuary of Heqaib on Elephantine. Heidelberg 1994, pp. 41-49.