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Etymology: "City of the dog"
A map of Ancient Egypt
A map of Ancient Egypt

Cynopolis (Greek for "city of the dog")[1] was the Hellenistic toponym for two cities in Ancient Egypt. Both Cynopolis superior and Cynopolis inferior were bishoprics in Christian times.[2]

Cynopolis superior

Cynopolis was the Greek name for the ancient Egyptian town of Hardai in the seventeenth nome of Upper Egypt,[3] was home to the cult of Anubis,[4] a canine-shaped deity. According to Claudius Ptolemy, the town was situated on an island in the river.[5] The modern settlement of El Kays now stands on the site.[6] The nome of Cynopolis extended to both banks of the Nile.[7]

A burial ground for dogs was discovered on the opposite bank of the Nile, near Hamatha. The neighbouring cities were rivals according to Plutarch, who wrote (De Iside, 72) that when a Cynopolis resident ate an Oxyrhynchos fish, the people of Oxyrhynchos started attacking dogs in revenge, which resulted in a minor civil war.[8]

Cynopolis was destroyed by the viceroy of Nubia Pinehesy during the reign of Ramses XI: the survivors were enslaved.[3]

The diocese, which became obscure under Islam, was nominally restored in 1933 as a Latin Catholic titular bishopric. It was named Cynopolis in Aegypto. The see has been vacant for several decades, having had the following incumbents, both of the lowest (episcopal) rank:

Cynopolis inferior

There was a second Cynopolis, referred to as Cynopolis Inferior or Cynum,[9] which was located in the Busirite nome in Lower Egypt (the Nile delta),[10][11] now modern Meniet ebn Kasib.[12] It was a suffragan bishopric of Oxyrhynchus, the Metropolitan Archbishopric and provincial capital of the Late Roman province of Arcadia Aegypti.

The diocese was nominally restored in 1922 as a Latin Catholic titular bishopric under the name Cynopolis. In 1933 the name of the see was changed to Cynopolis in Arcadia. The see has been vacant for several decades. The incumbents from 1922 to 1968 were:

  • Robert Dobson (1922.08.22 – 1942.01.06)
  • Angel Maria Ocampo Berrio, Jesuits (S.J.) (1942.06.23 – 1947.07.19) as Coadjutor Bishop of Socorro y San Gil (Colombia) (1942.06.23 – 1947.07.19), succeeding as bishop (1947.07.19 – 1950.12.06), later Bishop of Tunja (Colombia) (1950.12.06 – 1964.06.20), promoted first Metropolitan Archbishop of Tunja (1964.06.20 – 1970.02.20), on emeritate Titular Archbishop of Castulo (1970.02.20 – 1973.03.10)
  • Joseph Zhang Run-bo (張潤波) (1947.11.20 – 1949.08.10)
  • Jean-Marcel Rodié (1956.02.15 – 1968.04.10)


  1. ^ Room (2006), p. 102
  2. ^ Wiltsch (1846), pp. 184f
  3. ^ a b Černý (1975), p. 631
  4. ^ Helck (1974), p. 113
  5. ^ Lane (2000), p. 31
  6. ^ Lane (2000), p. 27
  7. ^ Lane (2000), p. 248
  8. ^ Sayce et al. (1904), p. 77
  9. ^ Wiltsch (1846), p. 184
  10. ^ Bingham (2005), p. 356
  11. ^ Müller (1877), p. 786
  12. ^ Hardouin & Pihan Delaforest (1828), p. 464


  • Bingham, Joseph (2005). The Antiquities of the Christian Church Part 1. Kessinger Publishing.
  • Černý, J. (1975). "Egypt: from the death of Rameses III to the end of the Twenty-First Dynasty". In I. E. S. Edwards, C. J. Gadd, N. G. L. Hammond & E. Sollberger (eds.). The Middle East and the Aegean Region, c. 1380–1000 BC. The Cambridge Ancient History. Vol. 2, Part 2 (3rd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 606–657. ISBN 978-0-521-08691-2.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  • Hardouin, Jean; Pihan Delaforest, Ange Augustin Thomas, eds. (1828). Historiae naturalis libri XXXVII By the Elder Pliny. N. E. Lemaire.
  • Helck, Wolfgang (1974). Die altägyptischen Gaue. L. Reichert.
  • Lane, Edward William (2000). Description of Egypt: Notes and Views in Egypt and Nubia. American University in Cairo Press. ISBN 977-424-525-3. The text was written in the 1830s.
  • Müller, Karl Otfried (1877). Strabonis Geographicorum tabulae XV by Strabo, Editore Ambrosio Firmin Didot.
  • Room, Adrian (2006). Placenames Of The World: Origins and Meanings of the Names for 6,600 Countries, Cities, Territories, Natural Features and Historic Sites. McFarland & Company.
  • Sayce, Archibald Henry; Maspero, Gaston; McClure, M. L.; King, L. W.; Hall, H. R. (1904). History of Egypt, Chaldea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria. Grolier Society.
  • Wiltsch, Johann Elieser Theodor (1846). Handbuch der kirchlichen Geographie Statistik von den Zeiten der Apostel bis zu dem Anfange des sechszehnten Jahrhunderts. Berlin: Schultze.

External links