, AL- (Phragonis)

The transmitted name of an Egyptian city, the exact location of which is unknown. The Greek, Latin, and Coptic lists of the who participated in the in A.D. 325 mention a from . SAWIRUS IBN AL-MUKAFFA‘, in his Arabic version of this list, gives the name of Harpocration’s diocese as al-Afrajun (see Munier, 1943, p. 4). But the location of the place is unknown, which has led some to believe that the name Alphocranon results from a double writing of the personal name Harpocration (- Al/rpokranwn, Arpokration-Al/rpokranon). This theory is weakened, but not nullified, by the appearance of the place-name in a medieval list of Egyptian dioceses (National Library, Paris, manuscript copte 53, and , Manchester, 53). Though the list is independent of the earlier catalogs of the bishops at , it is notoriously corrupt in the very section that records the name Alphocranon. The name appears again in a late Arabic legend about a Christian from al-Afrajun, but the source of the story is unknown and it is possible that the name is simply a fabrication in this tale (Crum, 1932, p. 139).

The fact that the name al-Afrajun, as recorded in Sawirus, is much more similar to the Greek Phragonis (al-Farrajin in Arabic) than to the Greek or Coptic form of Alphocranon makes possible the theory that the source(s) used by Sawirus had the name Phragonis and that al-Afrajun and Phragonis are two names for the same place. Phragonis/al-Farrajin is well attested in ancient and medieval sources. Its exact location is unknown, but it appears to have been situated near Tidah in the .


  • Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’Egypte à l’époque copte, pp. 46- 47, 179-80. Paris, 1893.
  • Crum, W. E. “A Nubian Prince in an Egyptian Monastery.” In
  • Studies Presented to G. L. Griffith, pp. 137-48. London, 1932.
  • Munier, H. Recueil des listes épiscopales de l’église copte. Cairo, 1943.
  • Timm, S. Das christlich-koptische Ägypten in arabischer Zeit, pt. 1, pp. 73-75; pt. 2, pp. 940-44. Wiesbaden, 1984.

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