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Temple of the WorldSanctuaries, Cults, and Mysteries of Ancient Egypt$
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Miroslav Verner

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9789774165634

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774165634.001.0001

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Heliopolis: The City of the Sun

Heliopolis: The City of the Sun

(p.44) (p.45) (p.46) (p.47) 2 Heliopolis: The City of the Sun
Temple of the World

Miroslav Verner

American University in Cairo Press

Heliopolis was considered by the historian Herodotus to be the oldest center of learning in Egypt. It is very difficult to reconstruct the history of this ancient city, despite the fact that in size it rivalled Thebes and Memphis and its temples and cults fascinated the learned men of classical antiquity. Schools founded by Plato and Eudoxus flourished here for a long time. The fate of Heliopolis was in many respects even more tragic than that of Memphis, for the City of the Sun was almost completely robbed of its grand monuments in several successive waves of pillage. The locations of all the cult sites in Heliopolis and what remains of them continue to present a great archaeological puzzle, which may never be wholly solved. Although archaeologists have not yet been able to thoroughly investigate the oldest cult site in Heliopolis and form a more precise idea of how the original sun temple might have looked, evidence from elsewhere in Egypt helps to define the possibilities. Heliopolis was probably the oldest religious center of Egypt. According to the Pyramid Texts, it was at Heliopolis that the god-creator Atum emerged from the chaos as a hill or mound and started on his work of creation.

Keywords:   Heliopolis, Iunu, city of the sun, pillage, cult, religion, Atum, Sun God, Miroslav Verner

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