City of the Ram-Man
The Story of Ancient Mendes
Donald B. Redford
In this richly illustrated book, renowned archaeologist Donald Redford draws on the latest discoveries--including many of his own--to tell the story of the ancient Egyptian city of Mendes, home of the mysterious cult of the "fornicating ram who mounts the beauties." Excavation by Redford and his colleagues over the past two decades has cast a flood of light on this strange center of worship and political power located in the Nile Delta. A sweeping chronological account filled with photographs, drawings, and informative sidebars, City of the Ram-Man is the first history of Mendes written for general readers.
Founded in the remote prehistoric past, inhabited continuously for 5,000 years, and abandoned only in the first-century BC, Mendes is a microcosm of ancient Egyptian history. City of the Ram-Man tells the city's full story--from its founding, through its development of a great society and its brief period as the capital of Egypt, up to its final decline. Central to the story is millennia of worship dedicated to the lascivious ram-god. The book describes the discoveries of the great temple of the ram and the "Mansion of the Rams," where the embalmed bodies of the avatars of the god were buried. It also discusses ancient Greek reports that these ram-gods occasionally ritually fornicated with women.
Vividly written and informed throughout by Redford's intimate knowledge of the remains of Mendes, City of the Ram-Man is a unique account of a long-lost monument of Egyptian history, religion, and culture.
Donald B. Redford is a historian and archaeologist who has worked extensively in Egypt since 1975, directing a number of important excavations, notably at Mendes and Karnak. A professor at Pennsylvania State University, he is the author of many books, including Akhenaten: The Heretic King (Princeton). He is also the editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt.