Tanis (tāˈnĭs) [key], ancient city of Egypt, in the eastern delta of the Nile. It is identified with the Hyksos capital, Avaris (XII dynasty), and is called Zoan in the Bible. It was a significant city in the XIX dynasty and was capital of the XXI (Tanite) dynasty. On the Asian frontier, Tanis was important strategically and commercially until threatened inundation by Lake Manzala caused it to be abandoned after the 6th cent. A.D. for the city of Tennis. Excavations, first begun in 1860, revealed inscriptions, several temples and statues, and a royal necropolis.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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