Leontopolis

Leontopolis

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This article is about the large ancient city of Lower Egypt; for other uses of Leontopolis, see Leontopolis (disambiguation)
Leontopolis (disambiguation)
Leontopolis may refer to:* Leontopolis, capital of the 11th nome of Lower Egypt* Leontopolis , a city of the 13th nome of Lower EgyptLeontopolis may also refer to:* Bizana, Turkey, in eastern Anatolia* Isaura Nova, in Isauria, Turkey...



Leontopolis (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: ) or Leonto or Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

: Leontos Oppidum or Egyptian
Egyptian language
Egyptian is the oldest known indigenous language of Egypt and a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Written records of the Egyptian language have been dated from about 3400 BC, making it one of the oldest recorded languages known. Egyptian was spoken until the late 17th century AD in the...

: Taremu, was an Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

ian city that is known as Tell al Muqdam today.

History


The city is located in the central part of the Nile Delta
Nile Delta
The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich...

 region. It was the capital of the 11th nome
Nome (Egypt)
A nome was a subnational administrative division of ancient Egypt. Today's use of the Greek nome rather than the Egyptian term sepat came about during the Ptolemaic period. Fascinated with Egypt, Greeks created many historical records about the country...

 of Lower Egypt
Lower Egypt
Lower Egypt is the northern-most section of Egypt. It refers to the fertile Nile Delta region, which stretches from the area between El-Aiyat and Zawyet Dahshur, south of modern-day Cairo, and the Mediterranean Sea....

 (the Leontopolite nome) and was probably the centre of pharaonic
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

 power under the 23rd dynasty
Twenty-third dynasty of Egypt
The Twenty-third Dynasty of ancient Egypt was a separate regime of Meshwesh Libyan kings, who ruled ancient Egypt. This dynasty is often considered part of the Third Intermediate Period.-Rulers:...

. Strabo is the earliest writer who mentions either the nome, or its chief town: and it was probably of comparatively recent origin or importance.

The Greek name of this city means, "City of Lions", given on account of the presence of temples to the lioness goddesses Bast
Bast (goddess)
Bastet is the name commonly used by scholars today to refer to a feline goddess of ancient Egyptian religion who was worshipped at least since the Second Dynasty...

 and Sekhmet
Sekhmet
In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet , was originally the warrior goddess as well as goddess of healing for Upper Egypt. She is depicted as a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. It was said that her breath created the desert...

, and their son, Maahes
Maahes
Maahes was an ancient Egyptian lion-headed god of war, whose name means "he who is true beside her". He was seen as the son of a lion goddess whose nature he shared...

, the lion prince. Live lions were kept at the temples during the time of the Greek occupation.

In the reign of Ptolemy VI Philometor (180
180 BC
Year 180 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Luscus and Piso/Flaccus...

-145 BC
145 BC
Year 145 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Ameilianus and Mancinus...

) a temple
Land of Onias
The Land of Onias is the name given in Hellenistic Egyptian, Jewish, and Roman sources to an area in Ancient Egypt's Nile delta where a large number of Jews settled. The Land of Onias, which included the city of Leontopolis, was located in the nome of Heliopolis...

, modelled after that of Jerusalem, was founded by the exiled Jewish priest Onias IV
Onias IV
Onias IV is the designation given to the son of Onias III and the lawful heir of the legitimate high priests. He had reason to hope that the victory of the national party under Judas Maccabeus would place him in the office of his fathers; but being disappointed in his expectations by the election...

. The Hebrew colony, which was attracted by the establishment of their national worship at Leontopolis, and which was increased by the refugees from the oppressions of the Seleucid kings in Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, flourished there for more than three centuries afterwards. After the outbreak of the Jewish War
First Jewish-Roman War
The First Jewish–Roman War , sometimes called The Great Revolt , was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Judaea Province , against the Roman Empire...

, the Leontopolite temple was closed in the first century CE, amid the general backlash against Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

.

It was a titular see
Titular see
A titular see in various churches is an episcopal see of a former diocese that no longer functions, sometimes called a "dead diocese". The ordinary or hierarch of such a see may be styled a "titular bishop", "titular metropolitan", or "titular archbishop"....

 of the Roman Catholic church.

The site


Antiquarians were long divided as to the real site of the ruins of Leontopolis. According to D'Anville, they were covered by a mound called Tel-Essabè (Tel es-sab`), or the Lion's Hill. Jomard, on the other hand, maintains that some tumuli near the village of El-Mengaleh in the Delta, represent the ancient Leontopolis., And this supposition agrees better with the account of the town given by Xenophon of Ephesus
Xenophon of Ephesus
Xenophon of Ephesus was a Greek writer. His surviving work is the Ephesian Tale of Anthia and Habrocomes, one of the earliest novels as well as one of the sources for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet....

. Smith
William Smith (lexicographer)
Sir William Smith Kt. was a noted English lexicographer.-Early life:Born at Enfield in 1813 of Nonconformist parents, he was originally destined for a theological career, but instead was articled to a solicitor. In his spare time he taught himself classics, and when he entered University College...

sites the city at latitude 30° 6′North, which is considerably further south than the actual site.

Most scholars today agree that Leontopolis is located at Tell al Muqdam, at latitude 30° 45′North.

External links