The Info List - Canopic

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CANOPUS, also known as CANOBUS (Coptic : ⲕⲁⲛⲱⲡⲟⲥ) was an Ancient Egyptian
Ancient Egyptian
coastal town, located in the Nile Delta
Nile Delta
. Its site is in the eastern outskirts of modern-day Alexandria
, around 25 kilometers (16 mi) from the center of that city. Canopus was located on the western bank at the mouth of the westernmost branch of the Delta – known as the Canopic or Heracleotic branch. It belonged to the seventh Egyptian Nome , known as 'Menelaites', and later as 'Canopites', after it. It was the principal port in Egypt for Greek trade before the foundation of Alexandria, along with Naucratis and Heracleion
. Its ruins lie near the present Egyptian village of Abu Qir .


* 1 Name

* 2 History

* 2.1 Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
* 2.2 Hellenistic Era * 2.3 Roman Era * 2.4 Modern city

* 3 See of Canopus * 4 See also * 5 Notes * 6 References * 7 External links


Peguat — Canopus (Şân-Stele) in hieroglyphs

Genp — Canopus in hieroglyphs

Gauti — Canopus in hieroglyphs

The settlement's Egyptian name was PEGUAT or PIKUAT. The Greeks called it Canopus (Κάνωπος, Kánōpos) after a legendary commander of the era of the Trojan War
Trojan War
supposedly buried there. The English form of the name derives from the Latinized form used under Roman rule .



Canopus was the site of a temple to the Egyptian god Serapis

The name of Canopus appears in the first half of the 6th century BC in a poem by Solon
. Early Egyptological excavations some 2 or 3 km from the area known today as Abu Qir have revealed extensive traces of the city with its quays, and granite monuments with the name of Ramesses II
Ramesses II
, but they may have been brought in for the adornment of the place at a later date. The exact date of the foundation of Canopus is unknown, but Herodotus
refers to it as an ancient port. Homeric myth claims that it was founded by Menelaus
, and named after Canopus , the pilot of his ship, who died there after being bitten by a serpent. Legend describes how Menelaus
built a monument to his memory on the shore, around which the town later grew up. The real origin of the name Canopus is said to be Ancient Egyptian
Ancient Egyptian
Kah Nub ("golden floor"), referring likely to the profits made by merchants trading through the port. There is unlikely to be any connection with "canopy". A temple to Osiris
was built by king Ptolemy III Euergetes
Ptolemy III Euergetes
, but according to Herodotus
, very near to Canopus was an older shrine, a temple of Heracles
that served as an asylum for fugitive slaves. Osiris
was worshipped at Canopus under a peculiar form: that of a vase with a human head. Through an old misunderstanding, the name "canopic jars " was applied by early Egyptologists to the vases with human and animal heads in which the internal organs were placed by the Egyptians after embalming.


In Ptolemy III Euergetes
Ptolemy III Euergetes
' ninth regnal year (239 BC), a great assembly of priests at Canopus passed an honorific decree (the "Decree of Canopus ") that, inter alia, conferred various new titles on the king and his consort, Berenice . Three examples of this decree are now known (plus some fragments), inscribed in Egyptian (in both hieroglyphic and demotic ) and in classical Greek , and they were second only to the more famous Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone
in providing the key to deciphering the ancient Egyptian language. This was the earliest of the series of bilingual inscriptions of the " Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone
Series", also known as the Ptolemaic Decrees . There are three such Decrees altogether.

The town had a large trade in henna .


In Roman times , the town was notorious for its dissoluteness. Juvenal
's Satire VI referred to the "debauchery" that prevailed there. The emperor Hadrian
built a villa at Tivoli , 18 miles away from Rome, where he replicated for his enjoyment architectural patterns from all parts of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
. One of these (and the most excavated and studied today) was borrowed from Canopus.


Main article: Abu Qir

The Egyptian city of Abu Qir ("Father Cyrus"), honoring two Christian martyrs, is located a few miles away from the ruins of Canopus. It is a village (around 1900 with 1000 inhabitants), at the end of a little peninsula north-east of Alexandria. It has a trade in quails , which are caught in nets hung along the shore. Off Aboukir on 1 August 1798, the French Mediterranean fleet was destroyed within the roads by British Admiral Horatio Nelson
Horatio Nelson
on 25 July 1799. Napoleon Bonaparte destroyed there a Turkish army 18,000 strong; and on 8 March 1801, the French garrison of 1,800 men was defeated by 20,000 English and Ottoman Turks commanded by Abercromby.


Egypt had many martyrs in the persecution of Diocletian
, among others St. Athanasia with her three daughters, and St. Cyrus and John . There was here a monastery called Metanoia, founded by monks from Tabennisi , where many a patriarch of Alexandria
took shelter during the religious quarrels of the 5th century. Two miles east of Canopus was the famous Pharaonic temple of Manouthin, afterwards destroyed by monks, and a church on the same spot dedicated to the Four Evangelists . St. Cyril of Alexandria
solemnly transported the relics of the holy martyrs Cyrus and John
Cyrus and John
into the church, which became an important place of pilgrimage . It was here that St. Sophronius of Jerusalem was healed of an ophthalmy that had been declared incurable by the physicians (610–619), whereupon he wrote the panegyric of the two saints with a compilation of seventy miracles worked in their sanctuary ( Migne , Patrologia Graeca , LXXXVII, 3379-676) Canopus formed, with Menelaus
and Schedia, a suffragan see subject to Alexandria
in the Roman province
Roman province
of Aegyptus Prima ; it is usually called SCHEDIA in the Notitiae episcopatuum . Two titulars are mentioned by Lequien (II, 415), one in 325, the other in 362.


* Egypt portal * Archaeology portal

* Menouthis


* ^ The first reference to Canopus as the helmsman of Menelaus seems to be by Hecataeus of Miletus . * ^ This may have been a reference to the newly discovered Heracleion

* ^ A B C D EB (1878) . * ^ A B CE (1913) . * ^ PDF file Research by Franck Goddio * ^ A B C EB (1911) .


* Baynes, T.S., ed. (1878), "Canopus", Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
, 5 (9th ed.), New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, p. 23


* This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Vailhé, Siméon (1908). "Canopus". In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Encyclopedia
. 3. New York: Robert Appleton. . * Griffith, Francis Llewellyn (1911), "Canopus", in Chisholm, Hugh, Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
, 5 (11th ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 203


* The Canopus