EDFU, in Coptic Atbō, a town of Upper Egypt, 484 m. S.S.E. of Cairo by rail, on the W. bank of the Nile, the railway station being on the opposite side of the river. Pop. (1907) 19,262. The inhabitants manufacture earthenware, which finds ready sale all through Egypt. The ancient Atbō (Apollinopolis Magna) was capital of the second nome of Upper Egypt. The great sandstone temple is practically complete (see Architecture: Egypt). It was built on the site of an earlier structure entirely in the time of the Ptolemies. The central part of the building, begun by Ptolemy III. Euergetes in 237 B.C., was finished by his successor in 212; the portico, court, pylons and surrounding wall were added by Ptolemy Euergetes II., Soter II. and Alexander I.; but the decoration was not finished till 57 B.C. in the reign of Ptolemy XIII. Neos Dionysus. The god of Atbō was a form of Horus (Apollo) as the sun-god; his most characteristic representation is as the disk of the Sun with outspread wings, so often seen over the doors of shrines, at the top of stelae, etc. In the temple, where he is often figured as a falcon-headed man, he is associated with Hathor of Dendera and the child Harsemteus.
See Baedeker's Egypt; Ed. Naville, Textes relatifs au mythe d'Horus recueillis dans le temple d'Edfou.
(F. Ll. G.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)