The Thebaid or Thebais (Greek: Θηβαΐς, Thēbaïs) was a region in ancient Egypt, comprising the 13 southernmost nomes of Upper Egypt, from Abydos to Aswan.[1]

Provincia Thebais
ἐπαρχία Θηβαΐδος
Province of the Byzantine Empire, Diocese of Egypt
c. 293–641
Historical eraLate Antiquity
• Division by emperor Diocletian
c. 293
• Conquest by Arabs
Today part ofEgypt
Map of the late Roman Diocese of Egypt, with Thebais in the south.

Pharaonic history

Pyramidion of Nebamun. Possibly top of a stela. Limestone. 19th Dynasty. From Egypt. Bought in the Thebaid (Thebais) but probably it came from Deir el-Medina. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London

The Thebaid acquired its name from its proximity to the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes (Luxor). During the Ancient Egyptian dynasties this region was dominated by Thebes and its priesthood at the temple of Amun at Karnak.

In Ptolemaic Egypt, the Thebaid formed a single administrative district under the Epistrategos of Thebes, who was also responsible for overseeing navigation in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The capital of Ptolemaic Thebaid was Ptolemais Hermiou, a Hellenistic colony on the Nile which served as the center of royal political and economic control in Upper Egypt.

Roman province(s)


During the Roman Empire, Diocletian created the province of Thebais, guarded by the legions I Maximiana Thebanorum and II Flavia Constantia. This was later divided into Upper (Latin: Thebais Superior, Greek: Ἄνω Θηβαΐς, Anō Thēbaïs), comprising the southern half with its capital at Thebes, and Lower or Nearer (Latin: Thebais Inferior, Greek: Θηβαΐς Ἐγγίστη, Thēbaïs Engistē), comprising the northern half with capital at Ptolemais.

Around the 5th century, since it was a desert, the Thebaid became a place of retreat of a number of Christian hermits, and was the birthplace of Pachomius.[2] In Christian art, the Thebaid was represented as a place with numerous monks.

Episcopal sees


Ancient episcopal sees of Thebais Prima (Thebaid I) listed in the Annuario Pontificio as Catholic titular sees:[3]

Ancient episcopal sees of Thebais Secunda (Thebaid II) listed in the Annuario Pontificio as Catholic titular sees:[3]

See also



  1. ^ Windham, Dharma (March 2006). Reluctant Goddess: Kleopatra and the Stolen Throne. Infinity Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7414-3092-2.
  2. ^ "Thebaid". Catholic Encyclopedia.
  3. ^ a b Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2013 ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), "Sedi titolari", pp. 819-1013