El-Bahnasa is one of the cities of El Menia Governorate on the Western Bank of the Nile in Upper Egypt. It is located about 160 km away from Cairo on the road between Maghagha and Beni Mazar. In Ancient Egypt, its name was ‘Pr-Medjed’ which was driven from the name of a fish that was thought to have swallowed the penis of Osiris. In Greek times, it acquired the name ‘Oxyrhynchus’. The city encloses one of the largest archeological sites in Minia where more than 100,000 papyrus fragments (now housed at the Sackler Library, Oxford) were found. Beyond the city limits and during many centuries, the people of Oxyrhynchus dumped garbage that contained various materials among which were papyri dealing with a vast collection of social, political and administrative issues.
Multiple important texts were found in Oxyrhynchus, among which are: – poems of Pindar – fragments of Sappho and Alcaeus – larger pieces of Alcman, Ibycus, and Corinna – remains of the Hypsipyle of Euripides – fragments of the comedies of Menander – A large part of the Ichneutae of Sophocles – The oldest and most complete diagrams from Euclid’s Elements – A life of Euripides by Satyrus the Peripatetic – Comedies of the Athenian playwright Menander (342–291 BC). – The First Epistle of John – The Apocalypse of Baruch – The Gospel according to the Hebrews – The Shepherd of Hermas – A work of Irenaeus – Many early Christian hymns, prayers, and letters. The most remarkable item that have been found on the lands of that city is the statue of a sharp-nosed fish that is supposed to be worshiped in that city. Some of the ancient Egyptian myths narrates that this is the fish that ate the phallus of Osiris after his brother Seth cut his body into pieces and threw him in the Nile.