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NAUKRATIS (Kom Giéif) Egypt.

About 65 km SE of Alexandria on the W or Canopic branch of the Nile, near the modern village of El-Niqrash. After recruiting Greek mercenaries to assist him in driving the Ethiopians from Upper Egypt, Psammetichos I (664-610 B.C.) settled the mercenaries at Daphnai, on the E branch of the Nile and, at the same time, apparently permitted Greek traders from Miletos to form a station at Naukratis (Herod. 2.97 et passim). Under Amasis (570-526 B.C.), the city became the most important commercial town and the trading center with the west. It was the only place where Greeks were allowed to dwell when they were in Egypt for business. The town contained separate quarters for Milesians, Samians, and Aeginetans, each with its sanctuary (for Apollo, for Hera, and for Zeus respectively). Other Greeks shared a concession (temene) which they called the Helleneion. The city continued to flourish through the Saitic period. When Alexander the Great arrived in Egypt (332 B.C.), he was undoubtedly welcomed by the Greeks of Naukratis. On leaving the country six months later, he appointed Kleomenes, a resident of Naukratis, as both financial governor of Egypt and contractor for the building of Alexandria. With the establishment of the Ptolemaic capital in Alexandria, Naukratis ceased to be the only commercial emporium in Egypt. It continued, however, to serve as a transit station for all imported and exported goods. Moreover, Naukratis was then the only city to strike her own coins both in silver and bronze. The first Ptolemies at least did not completely neglect the old city: inscriptions found on the site show that buildings were erected under Ptolemy I Soter and Ptolemy II Philadelphos. The limestone stela (Damanhur Stela), decree of the year 23 of Ptolemy V Epiphanes, with a copy of the hieroglyphic text of the Rosetta Stone, was found here and was probably from the Great Enclosure. During the Roman Conquest, the city steadily declined, and the excavations have yielded nothing that dates after the 2d c. A.D. Although the city continued to appear in travelers' records for some time, even its locality was hard to identify. At the present time, vegetation has covered the whole site. Many of the finds are to be found in the Graeco-Roman Museum in Alexandria.


W. M. Flinders Petrie & E. A. Gardiner, Naukratis I, II (1886-88)MPI; R. M. Cook, “Naukratis” JHS (1937) 227ff; A.J.B. Wace, “A Grave Stele from Naucratis,” BSRAA 36 (1943) 26-32; A. Zaki, “A Dedicatory Stele from Naucratos,” Etude de Papyrology 7 (1943) 73-92; J. J. Dunbabin & D. L. Page, “An Inscribed sherd from Naukratis,” BABesch 24-26 (1949-51) 52-53; F. W. von Bissing, “Naukratis,” BSRAA 39 (1951) 33-82.


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