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LEONTO´POLIS

LEONTO´POLIS (Λεόντων πόλις, Ptol. 4.5.51; Strab. xvii. pp. 802, 812; Λεόντω, Hieronym. ad Jovian. 2.6; Leontos Oppidum, Plin. Nat. 5.20. s. 17), the capital of the Leontopolite nome in the Delta of Egypt. , It stood in lat. 30° 6′ N., about three geographical miles S. of Thmuis. Strabo is the earliest writer who mentions either this nome, or its chief town: and it was probably of comparatively recent origin and importance. The lion was not among the sacred animals of Aegypt: but that it was occasionally domesticated and kept in the temples, may be inferred from Diodorus (2.84). Trained lions, employed in the chase of deers, wolves, &c., are found in the hunting-pieces delineated upon the walls of the grottoes at Benihassan. (Wilkinson, M. and C. vol. iii. p. 16.) In the reign of Ptolemy Philometor (B.C. 180--145) a temple, modelled after that of Jerusalem, was founded by the exiled Jewish priest Onias. (J. AJ 13.3.3; Hieronym. in Daniel. ch. xi.) 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, flourished there for more than three centuries afterwards. In the reign of Vespasian the Leontopolite temple was closed, amid the general discouragement of Judaism by that emperor. (J. BJ 7.10.4.) Antiquarians are divided as to the real site of the ruins of Leontopolis. According to D'Anville, they are covered by a mound still called Tel-Essabè, or the “Lion's Hill” (Comp. Champollion, l'Egypte, vol. ii. p. 110, seq.). 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. (Ephesiaca, iv. p. 280, ed. Bipont.)

[W.B.D]

hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 13.3.3
    • Flavius Josephus, The Jewish War, 7.10.4
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.20
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 4.5
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