Homer’s City of 100 Gates

Homer’s chosen image for power was to describe Thebes, the capital of ancient Egypt, as a city of 100 gates; and from out of each one, at any moment, might pour 200 men riding chariots. Egyptian Thebes was known by its inhabitants as Waset. It should not be confused with Thebes in central Greece, a small but ancient Bronze Age city locked into an unprofitable rivalry with Athens and with its own numerical associations ever since Aeschylus wrote the play Seven Against Thebes.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

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