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Ptolemais

Ptolemais

Ptolemais, a titular see in Egypt, metropolis of Thebais Secunda. Ptolemais owes its name to Ptolemy Soter who built it on the site of a village named Si (with the article, Psi, whence the Coptic Psoi, or Psõi; Arabic Absãy; Greek Sois and Syis). The capital of the nome of Thinite, it supplanted Thebes as capital of Thebais; as important as Memphis, its administration was copied from the Greek system. A special cult in honour of the Ptolemys, particularly of its founder, was established. In the sixth century it was the civil metropolis of Thebais Secunda. Le Quien (Oriens christianus, II, 605) mentions three bishops: the Melitian Ammonius; Heraclides, present at the Council of Ephesus (431); Isaac, who signed the letter of the bishops of Thebais to the Emperor Leo (457) and was present at the Council of Constantinople under the Patriarch Gennadius. A Greek "Notitia episcopatuum" refers to the see about 820. It had also some Coptic bishops (Zoëga, "Catalogus codicum copticorum", 329). The Coptic "Notitiæ episcopatuum" do not mention the see, but other Coptic documents cite it frequently, and allusion is made to its medical school. To-day it is known as Menshîyeh or Menshâh, contains 8000 inhabitants, belongs to the district of Girgeh, Province of Sohag, on the western bank of the Nile, and is a railway station between Cairo and Thebes.

SMITH, Dict. of Greek and Roman Geogr. (London, 1878), s. v.; MÜLLER, Notes à Ptolemy, ed. DIDOT, I, 720; AMÉLINEAU, Géographie de l'Egypte à l'époque copte (Paris, 1893), 381.

S. PÉITRIDÈS.

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