Alice C. Linsley
Many of the cities of the ancient world were royal cities with shrines, temples, palaces, and treasuries. These edifices of stone were characterized by many columns or pillars. The glyph for pillar looks like the letter i.
Some of the ancient shrine cities were iunu (biblical On) on the Nile River, io (Meroe of the North) on the Orontes River, and Sargon's iana/ianna at Ur, at the southern tip of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley.
This map shows where modern Antioch/Hatay is located on the Orontes River.
The shrine cities were built along the ancient waterways and the cargo that moved along the rivers was taxed. To insure that no ships passed the royal cities without paying the required tribute, the rulers built twin cities on opposite sides of the river.
On the Nile there were the twin cities of Nekhen and Nekheb (Elkab). These were built on the opposite sides of the river. The tomb of Horemkhawef in Nekhen and the tomb of Sobeknakht in Elkab were painted by the same artist. Hormose, the chief priest of Nekhen, requested material goods from the temple at Nekheb for use at the temple at Nekhen. The Greeks called the shrine of Nekhen "Hierakonpolis," which means "city of priests."
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