One of the best known cities in the Nile in the Greco- and Christian periods. It is mentioned often in classical authors and papyri (cf. Pietschmann, 1896, cols. 2070-71) as well as in Coptic and Arabic-Christian literature. The ruins of the city, which in Greek was called ‘Aqr…bij and in Coptic ayl/be or ayl/b/, are to be found in TALL ATRIB, located some thirty miles north of Cairo, next to Banha in the Qalyubiyyah Province.

Atrib was a bishopric even before 325, as attested by the Passion of SHENUFE, which mentions a Bishop Plasse of Athribis/Atripe (Reymond and Barns, 1973, p. 86 [Coptic text]; p. 188 [English translation]). The city still had a bishop at the end of the sixteenth century (Muyser, p. 163).

Atrib figures prominently in Coptic martyrologies, such as the martyrdom of Julius of Aqfahs, whose confession of faith and subsequent martyrdom in Atrib inspired the governor of the city to convert to Christianity. The martyr ANUB was from Atrib and the attendant on his persecution and martyrdom prompted many pagans in the city to adopt Christianity.

There was a monastery and a church of the Virgin in Atrib. Bedouins destroyed the monastery around 866, and the church was ruined in the thirteenth century.


  • Acta Martyrum, ed. and trans. I. Balestri and H. Hyvernat. CSCO 43, Scriptores Coptici 3. Louvain, 1955. Latin in
  • CSCO 44, Scriptores Coptici 4. Louvain, 1955.
  • Amélineau, E. La Géographie de l’ à l’époque copte, pp. 66-69. Paris, 1893.
  • Muyser, J. “Contribution à l’étude des listes épiscopales de l’église copte.” Bulletin de la Société d’archéologie copte 10 (1944):115- 76.
  • Pietschmann, R. “Athribis.” In Real-encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, Vol. 4, cols. 2070-71. Stuttgart, 1896.
  • Reymond, E. A. E., and J. W. B. Barns, eds. Four Martyrdoms from the Morgan Coptic . Oxford, 1973.
  • Timm, S. Das christlich-koptische Ägypten in arabischer Zeit, pt. 1, pp. 257-65. Wiesbaden, 1984.