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This article is about the large ancient city in Lower Egypt. For the city near the Egyptian Heliopolis, see Leontopolis (Heliopolis). For other uses of Leontopolis, see Leontopolis (disambiguation).

Leontopolis (Greek: Λεόντων πόλις [1]) or Leonto (Λεοντώ[2]) or Latin: Leontos Oppidum[3] or Egyptian: Taremu ("Land of Fish"),[4] was an Ancient Egyptian city that is known as Tell el-Muqdam today.


Iuput II ruled over Leontopolis from 754 to 720/715 BCE

The city is located in the central part of the Nile Delta region. It was the capital of the 11th nome of Lower Egypt (the Leontopolite nome) and was probably the centre of pharaonic power under the 23rd dynasty. In his conquest-stela found at the fourth Nile Cataract at Jebel Barkal, Piye writes about his conquest over Iuput II. who ruled over Leontopolis.[5] Strabo is the earliest writer who mentions either the nome, or its chief town: and it was probably of comparatively recent origin or importance.

The Greek name of this city means, "City of Lions", given on account of the presence of temples to the lioness goddesses Bast and Sekhmet, and their son, Maahes, the lion prince. Live lions were kept at the temples during the time of the Greek occupation.

Here in the reign of Ptolemy VI Philometor, the Jewish high priest Onias built a temple to Yahweh, afterwards closed by Vespasian.[6]

The site[edit]

Antiquarians were long divided as to the real site of the ruins of Leontopolis. According to D'Anville, they were covered by a mound called Tel-Essabè (Tel es-sab`), or the Lion's Hill.[7] 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.[8] Smith sites the city at latitude 30° 6′North, which is considerably further south than the actual site.

Most scholars today[citation needed] agree that Leontopolis is located at Tell al Muqdam, at latitude 30° 45′North.


  1. ^ Ptol. iv. 5. § 51, Strabo xvii. pp. 802, 812
  2. ^ Hieronym. ad Jovian. ii. 6
  3. ^ Plin. v. 20. s. 17
  4. ^ GDG VI, 26; LÄ VI, 351
  5. ^ TUAT 1, 1985, 557ff.
  6. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Leontopolis". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  7. ^ Comp. Champollion, l'Egypte, vol. ii. p. 110, seq
  8. ^ Ephesiaca, iv. p. 280, ed. Bipont


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°41′N 31°21′E / 30.683°N 31.350°E / 30.683; 31.350