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TEMPLE OF ONIAS
very manifest from what I have said, that not only the nome of Phacusa and Bubastus were within the limits of Delta ; but that Heliopolis, which is so generally referred to Arabia, was really a mediterranean city. Hence it is wonderful that so many learned men have determined it another way: who fell into this mistake by not observing, that there were two cities of the same name: the one as Pliny terms it, interior ; 'intus, et Arabia conterminum, claritatis magna, Solis oppidum; the other without, of less note, really situated in Arabia, and modern in comparison with the former. Ít lay to the east of the Nile, and to the north of the Fossa Regia ;
1 Nat. Hist. lib. 5. cap. 9.
at the distance of xii M. P. from Babylon, and XXIV from Memphis. Hence · Harduin is unjust in his animadversion on Stephanus Byzantinus : for there were two cities of this name, though different from what Stephanus supposes. It is mentioned by several writers under the name of Heliopolis : but its true name was Onium; which it received from Onias the son of Onias a Jew, who built it. The general history of this affair is attended with some mistakes. It is : said that Onias, having fled from his own country, had a great inclination to build a temple in Egypt in imitation of that at Jerusalem; or rather in opposition to it. In effecting this he found much difficulty; and, before he could gain the assent and assistance of his brethren in that part of the world, he was forced to have recourse to a prophecy, which he pretended was originally uttered in favour of his scheme. 4 " In that day shall five “ cities in the land of Egypt speak the language of
Canaan, and swear to the Lord of hosts : one “ shall be called, the city of destruction. In that
day shall there be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the
2 Hinc Stephani error duas esse Heliopoles existimantis. Not. in Plin. lib. 5. cap. 9.
3 See the connection of the Old and New Testament by Dr. Prideaux. Part II. Book IV.
4 Isaiah 19. v. 18, 19,
“ border thereof to the Lord.” The learned Scaliger has' a very ingenious conjecture, that Onias was led to the choice of this prefecture of Heliopolis for erecting his temple by this prophecy : but at the same time making use of an alteration that rendered it more in his favour. Instead of " Air haheres yeamer leachath, “one shall be called the city of “ destruction;" it is imagined that he read it, Air hacheres yeamer leachath,“ one shall be called the city of the sun.” This is a happy conjecture, and seems to be well grounded : but still must be admitted with some limitation. For first, Onias could not be led to the choice of that prefecture by this passage : “ the city of the sun" not being the place where he took up his residence ; nor was his temple founded in the nome of Heliopolis. It was certainly distinct from it; as I have shewn, and will farther prove. The name of Heliopolis was given to it by a mistake resulting from a similitude that subsisted between the true name Onion, and the antient On or Heliopolis. This he availed himself of; and endeavoured to make the passage in Isaiah accord with this lucky circumstance, and be prophetic
s Animadvers. ad Euseb. Chron. p. 144. sub numero MDCCCLVI.
Aquila and Theodotion render this passage Civitas Ares. Symmachus and St. Jerome translate it the city of the sun. The Chaldee Paraphrast retains both ; civitas solis quæ destruetur.
of the establishment of his temple. The name was certainly given to it after it was built; and the prophecy was made use of to support what was done, rather than to promote it. There seems to have been a collusion between Onias and those of his party, to impose this name upon the place; in order that it might be intitled to the benefit of the prediction. This is plain from the Seventy : where, to give it a proper antiquity, they have supposed it to have been built by their ancestors when in Egypt; and, that what Onias had done, was only a renewal of the antient place and name. For where it is said in the original that the Israelites 7“ built for Pha“raoh treasure-cities, Pithom and Raamses ;" the passage has been tampered with, and has been rendered thus ; Και ωκοδομησαν πολεις οχυρας το Φαραω, την τε Πειθω, και Ραμεσση, και Ων, η εςιν Ηλιαπολις: somebody shrewdly foisting in “ On, which is the city of “ the sun," to support the pretensions of Onias; and to prove that this was the original name of the place which he had new founded. I make no doubt but this was the reason of the interpolation : and I think it a confirmation of Scaliger's conjecture. Yet this passage should prove that it was a different place from the antient Heliopolis ; or else the transjators must be inconsistent with themselves. The city of Onias, according to this account, is said to
? Exod.'l. V, 11.