Tanis, Egypt

Tanis, Egypt

Tanis (Τάνις), the Greek name of ancient Djanet (modern صان الحجر "Ṣān al-Ḥaǧar"), is a city in the north-eastern Nile delta of Egypt. It lies on the Tanitic branch of the Nile (now silted up).


Tanis was founded in the late Twentieth dynasty, and became the northern capital of Egypt during the following Twenty-first dynasty. It was the home city of Smendes, founder of the 21st dynasty. During the Twenty-second dynasty Tanis remained as Egypt's political capital (though there were sometimes rival dynasties located elsewhere in Upper Egypt). It was an important commercial and strategic city until it was threatened with inundation by Lake Manzala in the 6th century AD, when it was finally abandoned. The refugees founded the nearby city of Tennis.


There are ruins of a number of temples, including the chief temple dedicated to Amun, and a very important royal necropolis of the Third Intermediate Period (which contains the only known intact royal Pharaonic burials - the tomb of Tutankhamun having been entered in antiquity). Many of the stones used to build the various temples at Tanis came from the old Ramesside town of Qantir (ancient Pi-Ramesses/Per-Ramesses), which caused many former generations of Egyptologists to believe that Tanis was, in fact, Per-Ramesses. However the burials of three dynasty 21 and dynasty 22 pharaohs--Psusennes I, Amenemope and Shoshenq II, survived the depradations of tomb robbers throughout antiquity. They were discovered intact in 1939 and 1940 by Pierre Montet and proved to contain a large catalogue of gold, jewellry, lapis lazuli and other precious stones including the funerary masks of these kings.

The chief deities of Tanis were Amun, his consort, Mut, and their child Khonsu, forming the Tanite triad. This triad was, however, identical to that of Thebes, leading many scholars to speak of Tanis as the "northern Thebes".

In popular culture

In the film "Raiders of the Lost Ark", Tanis was said to be the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant which was hidden in a secret chamber in Tanis. Tanis was inaccurately depicted having been destroyed in a sand storm and buried until 1936 when it was discovered by a German expedition outside of Cairo.


*Association française d’Action artistique. 1987. "Tanis: L’Or des pharaons". (Paris): Ministère des Affaires Étrangères and Association française d’Action artistique.
*Brissaud, Phillipe. 1996. "Tanis: The Golden Cemetery". In "Royal Cities of the Biblical World", edited by Joan Goodnick Westenholz. Jerusalem: Bible Lands Museum. 110–149.
*Kitchen, Kenneth Anderson. [1996] . "The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100–650 BC)". 3rd ed. Warminster: Aris & Phillips Limited.
*Montet, Jean Pierre Marie. 1947. "La nécropole royale de Tanis. Volume 1: Les constructions et le tombeau d’Osorkon II à Tanis". Fouilles de Tanis, ser. ed. Jean Pierre Marie Montet. Paris: .
*———. 1951. "La nécropole royale de Tanis. Volume 2: Les constructions et le tombeau de Psousennès à Tanis". Fouilles de Tanis, ser. ed. Jean Pierre Marie Montet. Paris: .
*———. 1960. "La nécropole royale de Tanis. Volume 3: Les constructions et le tombeau de Chechanq III à Tanis". Fouilles de Tanis, ser. ed. Jean Pierre Marie Montet. Paris.
*Stierlin, Henri, and Christiane Ziegler. 1987. "Tanis: Trésors des Pharaons". (Fribourg): Seuil.
*Yoyotte, Jean. 1999. "The Treasures of Tanis". In "The Treasures of the Egyptian Museum", edited by Francesco Tiradritti. Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press. 302–333.

External links

* [http://www.egyptologyonline.com/tanis.htm Treasures of Tanis]
* [http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/tanis.htm Tanis (San-el-Hagar)]
* [http://www.archaeology.org/0505/abstracts/tanis.html Archaeology Magazine article on Teasures of Tanis]
* [http://www.egyptsites.co.uk/lower/delta/eastern/hagar.html Tanis: San el-Hagar]
* [http://www.lexicorient.com/e.o/tanis.htm Tanis in Encyclopaedia of the Orient]
* [http://www.lexicorient.com/egypt/tanis.htm Travel information for Tanis]

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