Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Tanis

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A titular see, suffragan of Pelusium in Augustamnica Prima, capital of the fourteenth district of Lower Egypt. Tanis (in Egyptian Zani, in Hebrew Zoan) was situated on a branch of the Nile, to which it gave its name. It was one of the oldest cities in the world, as the Bible bears witness (Num., xiii, 23), and hieroglyphic inscriptions attest its existence under Pharao Pepi I Merira of the sixth dynasty. It flourished especially under the pharoas of the twelfth dynasty, under the Hyksos, or shepherd kings (fifteenth to seventeenth dynasties), under the pharoas of the nineteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-third dynasties, who had made Tanis their capital. It was under the shepherd kings that the Jews installed themselves in Egypt in the land of Gessen, near Tanis, and it is in this city which was the residence of Rameses II, that Moses and Aaron performed many wonders (Pa. lxxvii, 12 and 43). It is a mistake to confound Tanis with the Ramesses built by the Israelites (Ex., i, 10 and 11) and situated very probably at Tell-Rotab. The Prophet Isaias (xix, 11-13; xxx, 4) denounced Tanis and the Jewish politicians who had recourse to its kings; so too Ezechiel (xxx, 14 and 18), who announced its approaching destruction. Jeremias, who also pronounced (ii, 16) anathemas against the city, was forced to follow the Jews thither after the conquest of Palestine by Nabuchodonosor (Jer., xliii, 7-10; xliv, 1; xlvi, 14). In these last passages however the Bible uses Thacphanes or Thaphanhes, in Latin Taphnes, and it is not absolutely certain that this is the same as Tanis,some identifying Taphnes with Tell Dafaneh, about seventeen miles from San or Tanis. The earliest Bishop of Tanis is Eudæmon, a Melitian bishop at the beginning of the fourth century. Mention may be made also of Hermion, bishop in 362; Apollonius, present at the Robber Synod of Ephesus and Paul in 458. Besides these Le Quien speaks of eight Jacobite bishops (Oriens christ., II, 535-38), the last of whom lived in 1086. About 870 the French monk Bernard visited Tanis, "in qua sunt christiani multum religiosi, nimia hospitalite ferventes" (Tobler and Molinier, "Itinera hierosolymitana", I, 313). At the present time Tanis is a poor village called San el Haggar containing 1570 inhabitants, near Lake Menzaleh. The ruins, situated about twenty minutes distance, consist of a large temple, a small granite temple, and of other monuments not identified.

PETRIE, Tanis in Egypt Exploration Fund (London, 1885-8); ROUGÉ, Géog. ancienne de la Basse-Egypte (Paris, 1891); 90-5; JULLIEN, L'Egypte (Lille, 1891), 151-7; AMÉLINEAU, La géog. de l'Egypte à l'époque copte (Paris, 1893), 413 sq.

S. VAILHÉ.