The Egyptian name for Thebes was wꜣs.t, "City of the wꜣs", the sceptre of the pharaohs, a long staff with an animal's head and a forked base. From the end of the New Kingdom, Thebes was known in Egyptian as niwt-'imn, the "City of Amun", the chief of the Theban Triad of deities whose other members were Mut and Khonsu. This name of Thebes appears in the Bible as the "Nōʼ ʼĀmôn" (נא אמון) in the Book of Nahum and also as "No" (נא) mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel and Jeremiah.
Thebes is the latinised form of Koinē Greek: Θῆβαι, the hellenized form of the Demotic Egyptian ta Pe, from earlier ta Opet. This was the local name not for the city itself but for the Karnak temple complex on the northeast bank of the city. As early as Homer's Iliad, the Greeks distinguished the Egyptian Thebes as "Thebes of the Hundred Gates" (Θῆβαι ἑκατόμπυλοι, Thēbai hekatómpyloi) or "Hundred-Gated Thebes", as opposed to the "Thebes of the Seven Gates" (Θῆβαι ἑπτάπυλοι, Thēbai heptapyloi) in Boeotia, Greece.[n 1]
In the interpretatio graeca, Amun was rendered as Zeus Ammon. The name was therefore translated into Greek as Diospolis, "City of Zeus". To distinguish it from the numerous other cities by this name, it was known as the "Great Diospolis" (Διόσπολις Μεγάλη, Dióspolis Megálē; Latin: Diospolis Magna). The Greek names came into wider use after the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great, when the country came to be ruled by the Macedonian Ptolemaic dynasty.