(Quint. Inst. Or. 1.5.13; Κάνωπος
, Steph. B. sub voce
p. 355 s. v.; Hdt. 2.15
; Strab. xvi. p.666
, xvii. p. 800 seq.; Scylax, pp. 44, 51; Mel. 2.7.6; Eustath. ad Dionys. Perieg
. 5.13; Aeschyl. Supp
. 312; Caes. B. Alex. 25; Virg. Georg
. 4.287; Juv. Sat.
6.84, 15.46; Senec. Epist
. 51; Tac. Ann. 2.60
; Amm. Marc. 22.41
, &c.: Eth. Κανωβίτης;
, fem. Κανωβίς
), a town of Egypt, situated in lat. 31° N. upon the same tongue of land with Alexandreia, and about 15 miles (120 stadia) from that city.
It stood upon the mouth of the Canobic branch of the Nile [NILUS
], and adjacent to the Canobic canal (Κανωβικὴ διῶρυξ Strab. xvii. p.800
In the Pharaonic times it was the capital of the nome Menelaïtes, and, previous to the foundation of Alexandreia, was the principal harbour of the Delta. At Canobus the ancient geographers (Scylax; Conon. Narrat.
8; Plin. Nat. 5.34
; Schol. in Dict. Cretens.
6.4) placed the true boundary between the continents of Africa and Asia.
According to Greek legends, the city of Canobus derived its name from the pilot of Menelaus, who died and was buried there on the return of the Achaeans from Troy.
But it more probably owed its appellation to the god Canobus--a pitcher with a human head--who was worshipped there with peculiar pomp. (Comp. Nicand. Theriac.
312.) At Canobus was a temple of Zeus-Canobus, whom Greeks and Egyptians held in equal reverence, and a much frequented shrine and oracle of Serapis. (Plut. Is. et Osir.
As the resort of mariners and foreigners, and as the seat of a hybrid Copto-Hellenic population, Canobus was notorious for the number of its religious festivals and the general dissoluteness of its morals. Here was prepared the scarlet dye--the Hennah,
with which, in all ages, the women of the East have been wont to colour the nails of their feet and fingers. (Hdt. 2.113
; Plin. Nat. 12.51
The decline of Canopus began with the rise of Alexandreia, and was completed by the introduction of Christianity into Egypt. Traces of its ruins are found about 3 miles from Aboukir. (Denon, Voyage en Egypte,
p. 42; Champollion, l'Egypte,
vol. ii. p. 258.)