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A little past the midway point between the modern cities of Asyut and Luxor, the ancient city of Abydos (Egyptian Abedju) dates from the very beginnings of the Dynastic Period, with evidence of habitation extending back well into prehistoric times. The site was a cult centre of the canine necropolis god Khentiamentiu, 'Foremost of the Westerners' (i.e., ruler of the dead), whose temple evidently existed here from very early times. During the 5th and 6th dynasties Khentiamentiu became assimilated with the important Lower Egyptian god Osiris, and by Middle Kingdom times the site was the most important religious centre of the ruler of the dead. Because of its association with the afterlife, many Egyptian kings constructed cenotaphs at Abydos, including the great New Kingdom cenotaph temple of Sethos I.
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