town, Sawhaj muhafazah (governorate), Upper Egypt, on the east bank of the Nile, above Sawhaj on the west bank. Extensive necropolises dating from the 6th dynasty (c. 2345-c. 2181 BC) until the late Coptic period reveal the site's antiquity. In 1981 remains of a temple (Roman period) with Ramesside statues were excavated in the city. The name apparently derives from the pharaonic Khent-min and Coptic Khmin. Its deity was Min, in Hellenistic times identified with Pan, whence the name Panopolis, meaning "city of Pan." Also referred to as Chemmis or Khemmis, it was the capital of the 9th, or Chemmite, nome (department) of Ptolemaic Upper Egypt. Linen weaving is cited as an ancient industry there by the Greek geographer Strabo (born c. 63 BC). The 18th-dynasty pharaoh Ay (reigned c. 1323-19 BC) and the 5th-century AD Greek poet Nonnus were born at Akhmim. The Coptic dialect once spoken in the area had an important literature.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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