The recently-released Blood Ties DLC gave Tomb Raider fans a glimpse into Lara Croft’s childhood and her family history. Not only did we get to learn a little more about her enigmatic parents, we also got to find out what the younger Croft used to do in her spare time.
One of the collectable documents found within Croft Manor is Lara’s old hieroglyphics worksheet, which proved useful for deciphering one of the manor’s safe combination codes.
As a child, Lara apparently spent hours tracing Egyptian hieroglyphs from one of the old books in the Croft family library and, by extension, learning about Ancient Egypt’s system of government.
“I remember this now…each district in Ancient Egypt had a symbol and a number.”
For most of Egypt’s history, the country was divided into 42 administrative districts known as nomes (from the Ancient Greek nomós) or sepat (in Egyptian). Each of these districts was ruled by a governor (or nomarch) and their capitals served as economic and religious centres for the local populations.
And, as if to make life a little easier for modern-day archaeologists and historians, each nome was assigned its own unique, identifying emblem.
What we see on Lara’s worksheet is a list of the 22 nomes of Upper Egypt, which encompassed the southern half of the country.
- Ta-Seti – “the land of the bow”- represented by hieroglyphs for “land”and “bow”
- Wetjes-Hor – “throne of Horus” – represented by hieroglyphs for “to lift up” and the god Horus
- Nekhen – “shrine” – represented by a disc and two feathers (possibly falcon or vulture feathers)
- Waset – “sceptre” – represented by a Was-sceptre, often associated with the god Set
- Harawi (or Herui) – “two falcons” – represented, unsurprisingly, by two falcons
- Iqer (or Aa-ta) – “the crocodile” – represented by a crocodile hieroglyph wearing a feather on its head
- Seshesh – “sistrum” – represented by a sistrum, a musical instrument often associated with the goddess Hathor
- Abdju – “great land” – represented by Osiris’s double-plumed crown
- Min – “the god Min” – represented by the god’s symbol, which may be a stylized thunderbolt or barbed arrow
- Wadjet – “cobra” – represented by an image of the snake goddess Wadjet with a feather on her back
- Set – “the Set animal”- represented by an image of the god Set in his animal form
- Dwf (or Tu-f) – “viper mountain”- represented by hieroglyphs for “mountain” and “horned viper”
- Atef-Khent – “Upper sycamore and viper” – represented by hieroglyphs for “sycamore tree”, “horned viper”, and “water jugs in stand” (the latter represents the sound “khent”)
- Atef-Pehu – “Lower sycamore and viper” – represented by hieroglyphs for “sycamore tree”, “horned viper”, and “hind parts of lion” (the latter represents the sound “pehu”)
- Wenet – “hare” – represented by a hare
- Mehedj (or Ma-hedj) – “oryx” – represented by a Scimitar oryx, a type of antelope that used to be found across North Africa
- Anpu – “the god Anubis” – represented by the god Anubis in his jackal form with a feather on his back
- Nemty (or Anti) – “the god Nemty” – represented by the falcon god Nemty with spread wings
- Wab – “two sceptres” – represented by Was-sceptres and the hieroglyph for “leg” (which is also the phonogram for the letter “b”)
- Nart-Khent – “Upper laurel” – represented by hieroglyphs for “laurel” and “water jugs in stand” (the latter represents the sound “khent”)
- Nart-Pehu – “Lower laurel” – represented by hieroglyphs for “laurel” and “hind parts of lion” (the latter represents the sound “pehu”)
- Maten (or Dmt) – “knife” – represented by hieroglyph for either “knife” or “knife sharpener”
As you may have noticed, some nomes appear to have multiple names or their names may vary from source to source. Well, this is due to the fact that the exact pronunciations of some of the hieroglyphs are disputed so it’s actually easier to identify nomes by their emblems (or numbers) alone.
If you’d like to learn more about the twenty-two nomes of Upper Egypt, check out the links listed below:
- Nome (Egypt) (Wikipedia)
- Nomes (Sesh Kemet – Egyptian Scribe)
- Nomes of Egypt (Narmer.PL)
- Nomes of Upper Egypt (Ancient Egypt Online)
- Provinces of Egypt (UCL)
- The Nomes of Ancient Egypt (Tour Egypt)
- 10 Fantastic Free Resources for Learning Egyptian Hieroglyphs
- Oh My Gods! 5 Online Guides to Egyptian Gods and Religion