Not to be confused with Monarch.
Nome is derived from the Greek nomos (νομός), meaning a province or district. Nomarch is derived from the Greek word nomarchēs (νομάρχης): νομός (nome) + άρχης (ruler).
The division of the Egyptian kingdom into nomes can be documented as far back as the reign of Djoser of the 3rd Dynasty in the early Old Kingdom, c. 2670 BCE, and probably dates even further back to the Predynastic kingdoms of the Nile valley. The earliest topographical lists of the nomes of Upper and Lower Egypt date back to the reign of Nyuserre Ini, of the mid 5th Dynasty, from which time the nomarchs no longer lived at royal capital but stayed in their nomes.
The power of the nomarchs grew with the reforms of Nyuserre's second successor, Djedkare Isesi, which effectively decentralized the Egyptian state. The post of nomarch then quickly became hereditary, thereby creating a virtual feudal system where local allegiances slowly superseded obedience to the pharaoh. Less than 200 years after Djedkare's reign, the nomarchs had become the all-powerful heads of the provinces. At the dawn of the First Intermediate Period, the power of the Pharaohs of the 8th Dynasty had diminished to the extent that they owed their position to the most powerful nomarchs, upon whom they could only bestow titles and honours.
The title nomarch continued to be used even into the Roman period.
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