In Ancient Egypt, the city was the capital of Lower Egypt's 7th Nome of A-ment. It stood on the banks of a canal which connected the lake Mareotis with the Canopic or most westerly arm of the Nile. (Champollion, L'Egypte, vol. ii. p. 249). The city was dedicated to the Ancient Egyptian god Horus. In Greek and Roman times, it was called Hermopolis Mikra or Hermopolis Parva, which would also give it an association with Hermes, the Egyptien Thoth. As Hermopolis, the city attracted the notice of numerous ancient geographers, including Stephanus of Byzantium s. v., Strabo (xvii. p. 802), Ptolemy (iv. 5. § 46), and the author of the Antonine Itinerary (p. 154). It is a Roman Catholic titular see.
In 1986 the population of Damanhur was 188,939. The richly-cultivated Beheira province gives rise to mainly agricultural industries which include cotton ginning, potato processing, and date picking. It also has a market for cotton and rice.