DISCUSSION

The Sinai Desert and Egypt

140. The (city) of Nikiu - (Zawiet Razin)


Henikiu (= 0f Nikios). This village, often mentioned by classical, Byzantine and Muslim authors and noted on the Peutinger Plates, is most probably identical with Kom Razin, some 9 km southwest of Manuf and about 25 km from Ibshadi (which is situated near ancient Arsinoë/Cleopatris). Henikiu was the capital of the Prosopitic district; on the Madaba map it is much too far to the east. It was a bishop's see since the 4th century at the latest. We know some of its martyrs from Coptic sources, such as Sarapam(m)on, Isaac of Difray, Makarios of Antiochia, Theodoros Stratelates etc. The Holy Family is said to have rested there for seven days, in the course of which little Jesus healed a demoniac. Arab and Ethiopian sources mention many churches, destroyed by the Persians in the 6th century. The representation looks like a rectangular walled monastery: one main gate and four towers are visible, two of them with smaller gates. Inside the wall we note two red-roofed churches with porticos, or are they cloister arches? The latter could be suggested by the columns being not only in front of the churches but seemingly also around them. The remains of two churches dedicated to St. Sarapam(m)on have been indicated archaeologically - are they identical with the two churches on the Madaba map?

Herbert Donner, The Mosaic Map of Madaba, Kampen 1992, p. 83.

See also the article: "The Representation of Lower Egypt", by Herbert Donner

For more sources and bibliography see:
A. Calderini, Dizionario dei nomi geografici e topografici dell'Egitto Greco-Romano, Cairo-Madrid-Milano 1935-1987, s.v. "Nikiou", 358-359.

Map Section 10 Place Sources

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