Designation for Upper Egypt. The division of into two parts, Lower and Upper Egypt, goes back to pharaonic antiquity. The term Misraim, used in some works, is a dual and hence betrays this duality founded on geography. For Lower Egypt, the Delta, the effective divisions were al-Qalyubiyyah, al-Sharqiyyah, al- Daqhaliyyah, al-Gharbiyyah, al-Minufiyyah, al-Beheira, and al- Jiziyyah.

For the Sa‘id, which could not be presented as a block, it seems more practical to follow the tripartite division of the ancient and geographers, such as Yaqut (d. 1224), who distinguish (a) the lower Sa‘id (or Lower Thebaid), from Cairo (formerly Fustat-Misr) to al-Bahnasa (Oxyrhynchus); (b) the middle Sa‘id (or Thebaid), from al- to Akhmim; and (c) the Upper Sa‘id (or Upper Thebaid), from to Aswan. This forms three roughly equal parts (the third is a little larger).

The Fayyum forms an entity apart, as do the oases.

A summary of the ancient statements and a setting out on the map of the positions adopted are in A. Grohmann (1959, pp. 22-33 and map 4, p. 21).

  • Grohmann, A. zur historischen und Verwaltung des frühmittelalterlichen Ägypten. Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, philosophisch-historische Klasse, Denkschriften 77, 2. Vienna, 1959.