Location of Armant
Armant is a town located about 19 km (12 mi) south of Thebes, Luxor governorate.
Montu was an Egyptian god whose root of the name means “nomad”. Montu was associated with raging bulls, strength and war. He was also said to manifest himself in a white bull with a black face, the Bakha. Egypt’s greatest general-kings called themselves Mighty Bulls, the sons of Montu. In the famous narrative of the Battle of Kadesh, Ramesses II was said to have seen the enemy and “raged at them like Montu, Lord of Thebes”.
The site of Armant was an integral site for the worship of the war god, Montu. It was also the site of the Bucheum, where the sacred Buchis bulls were buried from the reign of Nectanebo II (360-343 BCE); this cult was continued for the next 650 years. There was also a Roman village next to the Baqaria (tombs for the mother of the Buchis bull).
Armant’s cemeteries cover all periods of ancient Egyptian culture, from the Predynastic into the Christian period. In the Middle Kingdom, Armant became a large urban centre with the first evidence of temple structures destroyed in the Late Period. The blocks were reused in the Ptolemaic temple construction.
Temple of Montu
A temple dedicated to Montu existed at Hermonthis as early as the Eleventh Dynasty, perhaps originating at Hermonthis. Substantial additions were made during the Twelfth dynasty and the New Kingdom. Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II is the earliest builder known with certainty. After its destruction during the Late Period, in the reign of Nectanebo II, this pharaoh started building a new temple and then the Ptolemies continued it. Cleopatra VII and Ptolemy XV Caesarion added a birth house with a sacred lake. The building remained visible until the nineteenth century when it was recycled to build a sugar factory. Only the remains of the pylon of Thutmose III are visible today.
Two gates, one of them built by Antoninus Pius, have also been found. The Bucheum, the burial place of the sacred Buchis bulls of Hermonthis, is on the desert edge north of the city. The earliest bull burial dates to Nectanebo II, and the complex remained in use until the mid 4th century AD. There was also the burial place of the Mother of Buchis cows. Moreover, extensive cemeteries of all periods are found in the neighbourhood of Hermonthis.
Under Cleopatra VII, Hermonthis became the capital of the 4th Upper Egyptian nome. The city remained in use during the Coptic era.