Egyptian city, whence came Poti-pherah, Joseph's father-in-law (Gen. xli. 45, 50; xlvi. 20). It is mentioned also in Ezek. xxx. 17, where the punctuation , Awen, is to be corrected to , On. The versions render "Heliopolis" in all cases "Heliupolis." An addition in the Septuagint (Ex. i. 11) mentions Heliopolis among the cities built by the Israelites. The inscriptions, however, show that it was perhaps the most ancient of all Egyptian cities—certainly the most sacred about 3000
It is remarkable that sanctity is still attached to the sacred well and tree among the insignificant ruins near Maṭariyyah, a few miles north of Cairo, which are protected by Christianization of the old myths (whence the place had the earlier Arabic name "'Ain al-Shams" [fountain of the sun]). The temples, of which only one obelisk from the twelfth dynasty has been preserved, were famous for their size and beauty, as were the priesthood for their learning, for which they were praised by Herodotus. A trace of this respect may possibly be found in the Biblical mention of Joseph's Egyptian relatives. Politically, the city was never of importance, although it was the capital of the thirteenth nome of Lower Egypt. Its position near the caravan road from Syria seems to have given it great commercial importance; hence the numerous Jewish settlements in and around it, among which were Castra and Vicus Judæorum. It already had Canaanitish quarters about 1200
The hieroglyphic form is "'-n-w"; the Biblical pronunciation is attested also by the Assyrian "Unu" (Delitzsch, "Wo Lag das Paradies?" p. 318, where the identity is, however, disputed; comp. also "C. I. S." 102a, 2, for mention in a Phenician inscription).