TAFA, or Taifa, in both ancient and modern times a settlement in Lower Nubia, about 30 miles (50 km) south of Aswan. In a number of classical texts it is called Taphis. Two small temples were built here in pharaonic times, and the place later became the main center of Roman military administration in Lower Nubia. At the beginning of the eighth century the more northerly of the pharaonic temples was converted into a church, an event that is commemorated in an Old Nubian inscription carved in one of the walls. Tafa must still have been an important place at that time, for it was designated as one of the seven or eight original Coptic bishoprics in the kingdom of MAKOURIA. However, the importance of the settlement apparently soon declined, and the episcopal seat was removed to the nearby settlement of TALMIS. Excavations revealed few important remains of the later medieval period in and around Tafa, although ABU SALIH THE ARMENIAN spoke of it as an important place, with a church and a monastery, in the twelfth century.
[See also: Nubian Church Organization.]
WILLIAM Y. ADAMS
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