Leontopolis (Heliopolis)

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Leontopolis (Heliopolis) is located in Egypt
Leontopolis (Heliopolis)
Shown within Egypt
Alternate name Tell el Yehudiye (mound of the Jews)
Location Kafr Ash Shubak, Heliopolite nome
Region Lower Egypt
Coordinates 30°29′33″N 31°33′16″E / 30.49250°N 31.55444°E / 30.49250; 31.55444Coordinates: 30°29′33″N 31°33′16″E / 30.49250°N 31.55444°E / 30.49250; 31.55444
Type Ancient location
Site notes
Website Tell el-Yahudiya
Ney-ta-hut: 'The Delta site of Tell el-Yahudiya (Mound of the Jews) probably (..) dates to at least as early as the Middle Kingdom and seems to have been occupied right up to the Roman Period. Tell el-Yahudiya was first excavated and published by Naville in 1890, Petrie in 1906 and later investigated by du Buisson for the French Archaeological Institute.'
Tell el-Yehudiyeh ware juglets. Rockefeller Museum

Leontopolis (Egyptian: Ney-ta-hut) is the Greek name for the modern area of Tell el Yehudiye or Tell el-Yahudiya (Egyptian Arabic: Mound of the Jews). It was an ancient city of Egypt in the 13th nome of Lower Egypt (the Heliopolite Nome), on the Pelusiac branch of the Nile.

This site is known for its distinctive pottery known as Tell el-Yahudiyeh Ware.


The site was identified in 1825 by Linant,[1][2] and earlier was identified by Niebuhr in the late 18th century.[3]

Earthwork enclosures[edit]

Head of an Asiatic prisoner, earthenware, fragment, Tell el-Yahoudiyeh (1184–1153 BCE)
Faience decoration of an enemy. From the palace of Ramses III at Tell el-Yahudiya. Louvre

The site includes some massive rectangular earthwork enclosures of the late Middle Kingdom or Second Intermediate Period. They measure around 515m by 490m, and their purpose is probably defensive.

These earthen walls were sloping and plastered on the outer face, and almost vertical on the inner face. Egyptian parallels for such a structure are lacking. This enclosure is often interpreted as a fortification built by the Hyksos; it is generally known as the "Hyksos Camp".[4]

There are also cemeteries from the Middle Kingdom and later.

A temple and palace of Ramesses II has also been excavated.

Also, there was a palace of Ramesses III with some fine decorations.

Jewish temple[edit]

In the reign of Ptolemy VI Philometor (180–145 BC) a temple, modelled after that of Jerusalem, was founded by the exiled Jewish priest Onias IV.[5] 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 Judea, flourished there for more than three centuries afterwards. After the outbreak of the Jewish War, the Leontopolite temple was closed in the first century CE, amid the general backlash against Judaism.[6]


  1. ^ Naville, 1890, p5, "the first account... who visited the place in 1825"
  2. ^ Linant, Memoires, p.139: "Oniosa, Castra Jndceorum. — A 20 kilomètres d'Héliopolis, au nord, on voit un grand monticule de décombres qui sont les restes d'une très-grande ville : ce monticule se nomme Tel-Yeuhoud ou Monticule des Juifs"
  3. ^ Niebuhr in Egypt, p151-152
  4. ^ Tell el-Yahudiya at egyptsites.wordpress.com
  5. ^ Joseph. Ant. Jud. xiii. 3. § 3; Hieronym. in Daniel. ch. xi.
  6. ^ Joseph. B. Jud. vii. 10. § 4

See also[edit]


External links[edit]