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Mythology (1)

Historic figures

Canobus or Canopus

CANOPUS (Ancient city) EGYPT
Canobus or Canopus (Kanobos or Kanopos), according to Grecian story, the helmsman of Menelaus, who on his return from Troy died in Egypt, in consequence of the bite of a snake, and was buried by Menelaus on the site of the town of Canobus, which derived its name from him (Strab. xvii.; Conon, Narrat. 8; Nicand. Ther. 309, &c.; Schol. ad Aelian. V. H. xv. 13; Steph. Byz. s. v.; Tac. Annual. ii. 60; Dionys. Perieg. 13; Amm. Marcell. xxii. 16; Serv. ad Virg. Georg. iv. 287). According to some accounts, Canobus was worshipped in Egypt as a divine being, and was represented in the shape of a jar with small feet, a thin neck, a swollen body, and a round back (Epiphan. Ancorat.108; Rufin. Hist. Eccles. ii. 26; Suid. s. v. Kanopos). The identification of an Egyptian divinity with the Greek hero Canobus is of course a mere fiction, and was looked upon in this light even by some of the ancients themselves. On the Egyptian monuments we find a number of jars with the head either of some animal or of a human being at the top, and adorned with images of gods and hieroglyphics. Such jars are also seen on Egyptian, especially Canobian, coins. They appear to have been frequently used by the Egyptians in performing religious rites and sacrifices, and it may be that some deities were symbolically represented in this manner; but a particular jar-god, as worshipped at Canobus, is not mentioned by any writer except Rufinus, and is therefore exceedingly doubtful. Modern critics accordingly believe, that the god called Canobus may be some other divinity worshipped in that place, or the god Serapis, who was the chief deity of Canobus. But the whole subject is involved in utter obscurity.

This text is from: A dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, 1873 (ed. William Smith). Cited Nov 2005 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks

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