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LATOPOLIS (Isna) Egypt.

On the W bank of the Nile, 53 km S of Thebes. The Greek name Latopolis (Strab. 17.1.47) refers to the fish Latus that was venerated here, mummified, and buried in its special necropolis in the mountains. The city gained its importance through being the terminus of the caravan road that ran through the oasis of Kurkur to Derr in the Sudan. Under the Ptolemies and Romans it became the capital of the third nome of Upper Egypt. In the heart of the modern city, in a hollow 10 m deep, stands the great Roman hypostyle hall of 24 columns constructed by Claudius and Vespasian. Its symmetry, its almost complete state of preservation, and the variety and originality of its capitals make it one of the most beautiful hypostyles in Egypt. The numerous texts that are carved on the walls and columns and which consist of important religious works were mostly carved in the time of Trajan and Hadrian.


G. Posener, A Dictionary of Egyptian Civilisation (1962) 81; E. Brunner-Traut & V. Hell, Aegypten (1966) 627, 629-30; K. Michalowski, L'Art de l'Ancienne Égypte (1968) 546-47; C. C. Walters, Monastic Archaeology in Egypt (1974).


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