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this city to Babylon is thus described by Ptolemy'. Εν μεθοριῳ Αραβιας---Βαβυλων, ἩλιςTOMIS. Upon the confines of Arabia stand Babylon and Heliopolis. The author of the Itinerary, in his account of the Egyptian cities which were beyond the Nile, in Arabia, mentions Heliopolis*.
per Arabium trans Nilum,
In Arabiâ Aphrodito
Hells, or Heliopolis
M. P. XX.
Geog. 1. 4. p. 116.
M. P. XII.
Scenas Veteranorum M. P. XVIII.
M. P. XII.
He gives the like situation to this city, in the route, which he describes through Arabia from Pelusium southward to Memphis 3.
* Itinera Antonini, p. 169.
Iter a Pelusio Memphim.
M. P. XVI.
M. P. XXVIII,
M. P. XXIII.
Scenas Veteranorum M. P. XXIIII.
M. P. XVI.
This secondary Heliopolis is by many supposed to have been the city which was rebuilt by that fugitive Jew Onias, who came into Egypt in the time of Ptolemy Philometor. This person requested of the king, that he would permit him to build a temple for the Jews in Egypt, after the model of that which was at Jerusalem. He had been one of the chief priests; and in his petition to the king, he mentioned, that a prophet of his country had foretold, that such a temple should be built, and that the place where it was erected, should be called the City of the Sun, or Heliopolis. The prophet, to whom he alluded, was Isaiah; and the passage is supposed to
Josephus, Antiq. 1. xiii. c. 3. p. 639.
2 Isaiah xix. 8.
be that in which mention is made of five cities in Egypt speaking the language of Canaan; where at the conclusion it is saidOne shall be called the city of destruction. The learned 'Scaliger has an ingenious conjecture, that Onias, to favour his purpose, made a small alteration in the words of the prophet, and instead of the City of Destruction rendered it the City of the Sun. In consequence of this he obtained a permit to found his temple, and to rebuild the city. But whether this was the real Arabian Heliopolis may not be easy to ascertain; though there is good reason to suppose it. He called it from his own name Onium; which had a great similitude to, On, of the Egyptians. And of this he seems to have availed himself; and accordingly gave out, that the prophecy was fulfilled. The city appears to have been the common resort, not only of Jews, but of merchants and travellers who came to Egypt. Dr3 Pocock, and some others, have supposed it to
Scaliger Animadversiones in Euseb. Chron. p. 144. ad numerum MDCCCLVI.
* See the Connection of the Old and New Testament by Dean Prideaux, vol. 2. p. 206, 7.
3 Egypt, p. 23.
have been Heliopolis, and the same also as the place called now Matarea. This opinion is countenanced by the account given by ' Abulfeda, and by the Nubian geographer, who says, that by the Arabians it was called Ain-Shems, or Fountain of the Sun, analogous to On. The name of Matarea is supposed by Mons. D'Anville to signify eau fraiche, fresh water: but I know not any authority for such a supposition. It is remarkable, that among some Oriental languages Matarea signifies the Sun. This may be proved from the Malayan language, and from that of the Sumatrans at Acheen. It seems to be a compound of Matta and Ree, the ancient Egyptian word for the sun, which is still retained in the Cop
1 D'Anville Memoires sur l'Egypte, p. 114.
Geog. Nubiensis, pars tert. climatis tertii. 3 D'Anville, ibid.
Expressed Mataharii and Matta-harri. Bible and New Testament. Amsterdam, anno 1733. Mattowraye, the Sun. See Marsden's Sumatra, of Acheen, p. 168.
Mahtah harée. Lang. of Batta.Mattoharee. Malayan. ibid.
Matta-harri and Matta-hari. See Malayan Gospels and Acts, printed at Oxford, 1677.
Matta'ree. Sumatra. Parkinson, p. 184.
tic; and with the aspirate is rendered Phree. This I have shewn in a passage from the Coptic Bible, where the city On is described, ON ETE OBAKI Lерí п¤...---Оn, which is the city of Ree the sun. We may judge, that by Matta was denoted an eye. Mr Marsden, in his very curious account of Sumatra, mentions, that among the Malayans, and among four other nations, that came under his cognizance, it has now this signification. Hence Matta-Ree, or Matarea, denoted the great eye of the world, the sun and the place probably was so denominated from a custom among the Egyptians of having an eye described over the portal of their temples. This interpretation of Matarea agrees well with the history of the place and the name was probably given by the merchants, who came from India to Egypt.
Of this we may be certain, that a city Heliopolis, the same, I believe, as Onium, was situated in Arabia. This must have been a different city from that Heliopolis, which stood
'The people of Acheen, the Batta, Risang, and Lampoon, p. 168. In the Pampango. Mata, oios, sive oculus.
2 What they expressed Ain Shems, was probably Oin Shems, which corresponds precisely with Mata-rce, and signifies Sol Oculus, the eye of the world.-Hexes is wars' spogg και παντ' επακέες.