July 1, 2022

Sais (Greek: Σάϊς) is the Greek name for the capital of Nome V of Lower Egypt. Located to the west of the Nile delta, it was the royal residence of the 26th dynasty (664-527 BC), called Saite. His tutelary deity was the warrior goddess Neit. Its name in Egyptian is Sau, while in Arabic it would be Sa el-Hagar, meaning "Sa the rock".


The oldest settlements in the region date from the Maadi-Buto culture (c. 3500 BC). Both the names of two queens, which contain the word "Neit" (Meryt-Neit and Neit-hotep), and allusions to the city in the time of Pharaoh Aha, could indicate the great prestige acquired during the Archaic period. From then on and for a long period, the history of the city can be followed, mainly by the pottery remains found, datable during the Old and New Empires. Sais regained its prestige in the 8th century BC. C., when Tefnajt and his successor Bakenrenef of the XXIV dynasty made it the hegemonic city of the western delta. Sais eventually fell to the Kushite king Shabako, but rose to prominence again during the Assyrian invasion of Egypt, when its governor Necho I fought for the Assyrians against the Kushites. His son, Psammetichus I prevailed as pharaoh (664-612) and reunited the country. Although the royal residence was Memphis, Sais remained one of the most prestigious cities in Egypt as it was the cradle of the royal dynasty even after the Persian conquest (527 BC). During the Achaemenid period, the temple of Neit was protected by the Persian rulers. The city was visited and described in the middle of the 5th century BC. C. by the Greek historian Herodotus of Halicarnassus, who mentions constructions such as the royal palace, the temple of Neit, a sacred lake, obelisks and statues. Since 1997 and after a long period of neglect, the archaeological work was resumed, in charge of the University of Durham and the Egypt Exploration Society.

External Links

Situation 30°58′00″N 30°46′00″E Official site of the archaeological expedition - Contains annual reports (1997-2004) Description of the archaeological site