A titular see of Egypt, now Medinet el Fayum, capital of the district of that name, and situated on the west bank of the Nile between the river and Lake Moeris, now on the Bahr-Youssuf, about fifty-two miles south-west of Cairo. Its episcopal list (c. 250-649) is given in Gams (p. 461). It is the most famous of several homonymous cities in Egypt, greatly favoured and renamed by Ptolemy II (284-247 V.C.) in honour of his sister and wife Arsinoe. Samaritan Jews were soon found there, and ere long it rivalled Alexandria for the vineyards and gardens that abounded on its soil, the most fertile in Egypt. It did a brisk trade in cereals and vegetables, and was renowned for its figs and roses. For its piety towards the crocodile it was known as Crocodilipolis, a haunt of crocodiles. It became eventually a flourishing centre of Christian life, but in 642 was betrayed by the Monophysite Copts to Amru, the Arab lieutenant of Mohammed. As the modern Fayum (Coptic ph-iom , Fiûm, i.e. Lake Moeris) it is celebrated for the discovery (1877-78) of a great many papyri manuscripts, some of which are important for the earliest Christian history of Egypt ; they are described in the Hellenic section of the reports of the "Egypt Exploration Fund". It has several Coptic churches and Moslem mosques, and some manufactures, especially of woolen stuffs. Its trade in rose-water and nitre is considerable. The population is about 26,000.
Another Arsinoe was located on the Heeroopolite gulf of the Red Sea, and as one of the principal harbours of ancient Egypt carried on an extensive trade with India in silks, spices, ivory, etc. It is mentioned in Exodus 14:2,9 , and Numbers 33:7 and is said to be identical with Argueroud near Suez. Arsinoe on the west coast of Cyprus was an episcopal see from the fifth to the twelfth century ( Gams,( p. 439, and Lequien, II, 1065-68). Several other cities of the name are mentioned in Smith.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online