|1. Herodotus, Histories, 2.5, 2.13, 2.17, 2.35, 2.59 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)
Tagged with subjects: • Delta (Nile-) • Nile, Delta (mouths of the Nile) • Nile, River, Delta
Found in books: Manolaraki (2012), Noscendi Nilum Cupido: Imagining Egypt from Lucan to Philostratus, 4, 68, 255; Salvesen et al. (2020), Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period, 205, 211; Torok (2014), Herodotus In Nubia, 46
2.5 καὶ εὖ μοι ἐδόκεον λέγειν περὶ τῆς χώρης· δῆλα γὰρ δὴ καὶ μὴ προακούσαντι ἰδόντι δέ, ὅστις γε σύνεσιν ἔχει, ὅτι Αἴγυπτος, ἐς τὴν Ἕλληνες ναυτίλλονται, ἐστὶ Αἰγυπτίοισι ἐπίκτητός τε γῆ καὶ δῶρον τοῦ ποταμοῦ, καὶ τὰ κατύπερθε ἔτι τῆς λίμνης ταύτης μέχρι τριῶν ἡμερέων πλόου, τῆς πέρι ἐκεῖνοι οὐδὲν ἔτι τοιόνδε ἔλεγον, ἔστι δὲ ἕτερον τοιόνδε. Αἰγύπτου γὰρ φύσις ἐστὶ τῆς χώρης τοιήδε. πρῶτα μὲν προσπλέων ἔτι καὶ ἡμέρης δρόμον ἀπέχων ἀπὸ γῆς, κατεὶς καταπειρητηρίην πηλόν τε ἀνοίσεις καὶ ἐν ἕνδεκα ὀργυιῇσι ἔσεαι. τοῦτο μὲν ἐπὶ τοσοῦτο δηλοῖ πρόχυσιν τῆς γῆς ἐοῦσαν.
2.13 ἔλεγον δὲ καὶ τόδε μοι μέγα τεκμήριον περὶ τῆς χώρης ταύτης οἱ ἱρέες, ὡς ἐπὶ Μοίριος βασιλέος, ὅκως ἔλθοι ὁ ποταμὸς ἐπὶ ὀκτὼ πήχεας τὸ ἐλάχιστον, ἄρδεσκε Αἴγυπτον τὴν ἔνερθε Μέμφιος· καὶ Μοίρι οὔκω ἦν ἔτεα εἰνακόσια τετελευτηκότι ὅτε τῶν ἱρέων ταῦτα ἐγὼ ἤκουον. νῦν δὲ εἰ μὴ ἐπʼ ἑκκαίδεκα ἢ πεντεκαίδεκα πήχεας ἀναβῇ τὸ ἐλάχιστον ὁ ποταμός, οὐκ ὑπερβαίνει ἐς τὴν χώρην. δοκέουσί τέ μοι Αἰγυπτίων οἱ ἔνερθε λίμνης τῆς Μοίριος οἰκέοντες τά τε ἄλλα χωρία καὶ τὸ καλεόμενον Δέλτα, ἢν οὕτω ἡ χώρη αὕτη κατὰ λόγον ἐπιδιδῷ ἐς ὕψος καὶ τὸ ὅμοιον ἀποδιδῷ ἐς αὔξησιν, 1 μὴ κατακλύζοντος αὐτὴν τοῦ Νείλου πείσεσθαι τὸν πάντα χρόνον τὸν ἐπίλοιπον Αἰγύπτιοι τὸ κοτὲ αὐτοὶ Ἕλληνας ἔφασαν πείσεσθαι. πυθόμενοι γὰρ ὡς ὕεται πᾶσα ἡ χώρη τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἀλλʼ οὐ ποταμοῖσι ἄρδεται κατά περ ἡ σφετέρη, ἔφασαν Ἕλληνας ψευσθέντας κοτὲ ἐλπίδος μεγάλης κακῶς πεινήσειν. τὸ δὲ ἔπος τοῦτο ἐθέλει λέγειν ὡς, εἰ μὴ ἐθελήσει σφι ὕειν ὁ θεὸς ἀλλὰ αὐχμῷ διαχρᾶσθαι, λιμῷ οἱ Ἕλληνες αἱρεθήσονται· οὐ γὰρ δή σφι ἐστὶ ὕδατος οὐδεμία ἄλλη ἀποστροφὴ ὅτι μὴ ἐκ τοῦ Διὸς μοῦνον.
2.17 καὶ τὴν μὲν Ἰώνων γνώμην ἀπίεμεν, ἡμεῖς δὲ ὧδε καὶ περὶ τούτων λέγομεν, Αἴγυπτον μὲν πᾶσαν εἶναι ταύτην τὴν ὑπʼ Αἰγυπτίων οἰκεομένην κατά περ Κιλικίην τὴν ὑπὸ Κιλίκων καὶ Ἀσσυρίην τὴν ὑπὸ Ἀσσυρίων, οὔρισμα δὲ Ἀσίῃ καὶ Λιβύῃ οἴδαμεν οὐδὲν ἐὸν ὀρθῷ λόγῳ εἰ μὴ τοὺς Αἰγυπτίων οὔρους. εἰ δὲ τῷ ὑπʼ Ἑλλήνων νενομισμένῳ χρησόμεθα, νομιοῦμεν Αἴγυπτον πᾶσαν ἀρξαμένην ἀπὸ Καταδούπων τε καὶ Ἐλεφαντίνης πόλιος δίχα διαιρέεσθαι καὶ ἀμφοτερέων τῶν ἐπωνυμιέων ἔχεσθαι· τὰ μὲν γὰρ αὐτῆς εἶναι τῆς Λιβύης τὰ δὲ τῆς Ἀσίης. ὁ γὰρ δὴ Νεῖλος ἀρξάμενος ἐκ τῶν Καταδούπων ῥέει μέσην Αἴγυπτον σχίζων ἐς θάλασσαν. μέχρι μέν νυν Κερκασώρου πόλιος ῥέει εἷς ἐὼν ὁ Νεῖλος, τὸ δὲ ἀπὸ ταύτης τῆς πόλιος σχίζεται τριφασίας ὁδούς. καὶ ἣ μὲν πρὸς ἠῶ τρέπεται, τὸ καλέεται Πηλούσιον στόμα, ἡ δὲ ἑτέρη τῶν ὁδῶν πρὸς ἑσπέρην ἔχει· τοῦτο δὲ Κανωβικὸν στόμα κέκληται. ἡ δὲ δὴ ἰθέα τῶν ὁδῶν τῷ Νείλῳ ἐστὶ ἥδε· ἄνωθεν φερόμενος ἐς τὸ ὀξὺ τοῦ Δέλτα ἀπικνέεται, τὸ δὲ ἀπὸ τούτου σχίζων μέσον τὸ Δέλτα ἐς θάλασσαν ἐξιεῖ, οὔτε ἐλαχίστην μοῖραν τοῦ ὕδατος παρεχόμενος ταύτην οὔτε ἥκιστα ὀνομαστήν· τὸ καλέεται Σεβεννυτικὸν στόμα. ἔστι δὲ καὶ ἕτερα διφάσια στόματα ἀπὸ τοῦ Σεβεννυτικοῦ ἀποσχισθέντα, φέροντα ἐς θάλασσαν· τοῖσι οὐνόματα κέεται τάδε, τῷ μὲν Σαϊτικὸν αὐτῶν τῷ δὲ Μενδήσιον. τὸ δὲ Βολβίτινον στόμα καὶ τὸ Βουκολικὸν οὐκ ἰθαγενέα στόματα ἐστὶ ἀλλʼ ὀρυκτά.
2.35 Νείλου μέν νυν πέρι τοσαῦτα εἰρήσθω· ἔρχομαι δὲ περὶ Αἰγύπτου μηκυνέων τὸν λόγον, ὅτι πλεῖστα θωμάσια ἔχει ἢ ἡ ἄλλη πᾶσα χώρη καὶ ἔργα λόγου μέζω παρέχεται πρὸς πᾶσαν χώρην τούτων εἵνεκα πλέω περὶ αὐτῆς εἰρήσεται. Αἰγύπτιοι ἅμα τῷ οὐρανῷ τῷ κατὰ σφέας ἐόντι ἑτεροίῳ καὶ τῷ ποταμῷ φύσιν ἀλλοίην παρεχομένῳ ἢ οἱ ἄλλοι ποταμοί, τὰ πολλὰ πάντα ἔμπαλιν τοῖσι ἄλλοισι ἀνθρώποισι ἐστήσαντο ἤθεά τε καὶ νόμους· ἐν τοῖσι αἱ μὲν γυναῖκες ἀγοράζουσι καὶ καπηλεύουσι, οἱ δὲ ἄνδρες κατʼ οἴκους ἐόντες ὑφαίνουσι· ὑφαίνουσι δὲ οἱ μὲν ἄλλοι ἄνω τὴν κρόκην ὠθέοντες, Αἰγύπτιοι δὲ κάτω. τὰ ἄχθεα οἱ μὲν ἄνδρες ἐπὶ τῶν κεφαλέων φορέουσι, αἱ δὲ γυναῖκες ἐπὶ τῶν ὤμων. οὐρέουσι αἱ μὲν γυναῖκες ὀρθαί, οἱ δὲ ἄνδρες κατήμενοι. εὐμαρείῃ χρέωνται ἐν τοῖσι οἴκοισι, ἐσθίουσι δὲ ἔξω ἐν τῇσι ὁδοῖσι ἐπιλέγοντες ὡς τὰ μὲν αἰσχρὰ ἀναγκαῖα δὲ ἐν ἀποκρύφῳ ἐστὶ ποιέειν χρεόν, τὰ δὲ μὴ αἰσχρὰ ἀναφανδόν. ἱρᾶται γυνὴ μὲν οὐδεμία οὔτε ἔρσενος θεοῦ οὔτε θηλέης, ἄνδρες δὲ πάντων τε καὶ πασέων. τρέφειν τοὺς τοκέας τοῖσι μὲν παισὶ οὐδεμία ἀνάγκη μὴ βουλομένοισι, τῇσι δὲ θυγατράσι πᾶσα ἀνάγκη καὶ μὴ βουλομένῃσι.
2.59 πανηγυρίζουσι δὲ Αἰγύπτιοι οὐκ ἅπαξ τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ, πανηγύρις δὲ συχνάς, μάλιστα μὲν καὶ προθυμότατα ἐς Βούβαστιν πόλιν τῇ Ἀρτέμιδι, δεύτερα δὲ ἐς Βούσιριν πόλιν τῇ Ἴσι· ἐν ταύτῃ γὰρ δὴ τῇ πόλι ἐστὶ μέγιστον Ἴσιος ἱρόν, ἵδρυται δὲ ἡ πόλις αὕτη τῆς Αἰγύπτου ἐν μέσῳ τῷ Δέλτα· Ἶσις δὲ ἐστὶ κατὰ τὴν Ἑλλήνων γλῶσσαν Δημήτηρ. τρίτα δὲ ἐς Σάιν πόλιν τῇ Ἀθηναίῃ πανηγυρίζουσι, τέταρτα δὲ ἐς Ἡλίου πόλιν τῷ Ἡλίω, πέμπτα δὲ ἐς Βουτοῦν πόλιν τῇ Λητοῖ, ἕκτα δὲ ἐς Πάπρημιν πόλιν τῷ Ἄρεϊ.'' None
2.5 And I think that their account of the country was true. For even if a man has not heard it before, he can readily see, if he has sense, that that Egypt to which the Greeks sail is land deposited for the Egyptians, the river's gift—not only the lower country, but even the land as far as three days' voyage above the lake, which is of the same nature as the other, although the priests did not say this, too. ,For this is the nature of the land of Egypt : in the first place, when you approach it from the sea and are still a day's sail from land, if you let down a sounding line you will bring up mud from a depth of eleven fathoms. This shows that the deposit from the land reaches this far. " 2.13 This, too, that the priests told me about Egypt, is a strong proof: when Moeris was king, if the river rose as much as thirteen feet, it watered all of Egypt below Memphis . Moeris had not been dead nine hundred years when I heard this from the priests. But now, if the river does not rise at least twenty-six or twenty-five feet, the land is not flooded. ,And, in my opinion, the Egyptians who inhabit the lands lower down the river than lake Moeris, and especially what is called the Delta—if this land of theirs rises in the same proportion and broadens likewise in extent, and the Nile no longer floods it—will forever after be in the same straits as they themselves once said the Greeks would be; ,for, learning that all the Greek land is watered by rain, but not by river water like theirs, they said that one day the Greeks would be let down by what they counted on, and miserably starve: meaning that, if heaven send no rain for the Greeks and afflict them with drought, the Greeks will be overtaken by famine, for there is no other source of water for them except Zeus alone.' "
2.17 We leave the Ionians' opinion aside, and our own judgment about the matter is this: Egypt is all that country which is inhabited by Egyptians, just as Cilicia and Assyria are the countries inhabited by Cilicians and Assyrians, and we know of no boundary line (rightly so called) below Asia and Libya except the borders of the Egyptians. ,But if we follow the belief of the Greeks, we shall consider all Egypt commencing from the Cataracts and the city of Elephantine to be divided into two parts, and to claim both the names, the one a part of Libya and the other of Asia . ,For the Nile, beginning from the Cataracts, divides Egypt into two parts as it flows to the sea. Now, as far as the city Cercasorus the Nile flows in one channel, but after that it parts into three. ,One of these, which is called the Pelusian mouth, flows east; the second flows west, and is called the Canobic mouth. But the direct channel of the Nile, when the river in its downward course reaches the apex of the Delta, flows thereafter clean through the middle of the Delta into the sea; in this is seen the greatest and most famous part of its waters, and it is called the Sebennytic mouth. ,There are also two channels which separate themselves from the Sebennytic and so flow into the sea: by name, the Saïtic and the Mendesian. ,The Bolbitine and Bucolic mouths are not natural but excavated channels. " 2.35 It is sufficient to say this much concerning the Nile . But concerning Egypt, I am going to speak at length, because it has the most wonders, and everywhere presents works beyond description; therefore, I shall say the more concerning Egypt . ,Just as the Egyptians have a climate peculiar to themselves, and their river is different in its nature from all other rivers, so, too, have they instituted customs and laws contrary for the most part to those of the rest of mankind. Among them, the women buy and sell, the men stay at home and weave; and whereas in weaving all others push the woof upwards, the Egyptians push it downwards. ,Men carry burdens on their heads, women on their shoulders. Women pass water standing, men sitting. They ease their bowels indoors, and eat out of doors in the streets, explaining that things unseemly but necessary should be done alone in private, things not unseemly should be done openly. ,No woman is dedicated to the service of any god or goddess; men are dedicated to all deities male or female. Sons are not compelled against their will to support their parents, but daughters must do so though they be unwilling.
2.59 The Egyptians hold solemn assemblies not once a year, but often. The principal one of these and the most enthusiastically celebrated is that in honor of Artemis at the town of Bubastis , and the next is that in honor of Isis at Busiris. ,This town is in the middle of the Egyptian Delta, and there is in it a very great temple of Isis, who is Demeter in the Greek language. ,The third greatest festival is at Saïs in honor of Athena; the fourth is the festival of the sun at Heliopolis, the fifth of Leto at Buto, and the sixth of Ares at Papremis. '" None
|6. Strabo, Geography, 17.1.6
Tagged with subjects: • Alexandria, Delta Quarter • Jews in Alexandria, Jewish district/Delta quarter
Found in books: Rizzi (2010), Hadrian and the Christians, 131; Schliesser et al. (2021), Alexandria: Hub of the Hellenistic World. 23
17.1.6 As Alexandreia and its neighbourhood occupy the greatest and principal portion of the description, I shall begin with it.In sailing towards the west, the sea-coast from Pelusium to the Canobic mouth of the Nile is about 1300 stadia in extent, and constitutes, as we have said, the base of the Delta. Thence to the island Pharos are 150 stadia more.Pharos is a small oblong island, and lies quite close to the continent, forming towards it a harbour with a double entrance. For the coast abounds with bays, and has two promontories projecting into the sea. The island is situated between these, and shuts in the bay, lying lengthways in front of it.of the extremities of the Pharos, the eastern is nearest to the continent and to the promontory in that direction, called Lochias, which is the cause of the entrance to the port being narrow. Besides the narrowness of the passage, there are rocks, some under water, others rising above it, which at all times increase the violence of the waves rolling in upon them from the open sea. This extremity itself of the island is a rock, washed by the sea on all sides, with a tower upon it of the same name as the island, admirably constructed of white marble, with several stories. Sostratus of Cnidus, a friend of the kings, erected it for the safety of mariners, as the inscription imports. For as the coast on each side is low and without harbours, with reefs and shallows, an elevated and conspicuous mark was required to enable navigators coming in from the open sea to direct their course exactly to the entrance of the harbour.The western mouth does not afford an easy entrance, but it does not require the same degree of caution as the other. It forms also another port, which has the name of Eunostus, or Happy Return: it lies in front of the artificial and close harbour. That which has its entrance at the above-mentioned tower of Pharos is the great harbour. These (two) lie contiguous in the recess called Heptastadium, and are separated from it by a mound. This mound forms a bridge from the continent to the island, and extends along its western side, leaving two passages only through it to the harbour of Eunostus, which are bridged over. But this work served not only as a bridge, but as an aqueduct also, when the island was inhabited. Divus Caesar devastated the island, in his war against the people of Alexandreia, when they espoused the party of the kings. A few sailors live near the tower.The great harbour, in addition to its being well enclosed by the mound and by nature, is of sufficient depth near the shore to allow the largest vessel to anchor near the stairs. It is also divided into several ports.The former kings of Egypt, satisfied with what they possessed, and not desirous of foreign commerce, entertained a dislike to all mariners, especially the Greeks (who, on account of the poverty of their own country, ravaged and coveted the property of other nations), and stationed a guard here, who had orders to keep off all persons who approached. To the guard was assigned as a place of residence the spot called Rhacotis, which is now a part of the city of Alexandreia, situated above the arsenal. At that time, however, it was a village. The country about the village was given up to herdsmen, who were also able (from their numbers) to prevent strangers from entering the country.When Alexander arrived, and perceived the advantages of the situation, he determined to build the city on the (natural) harbour. The prosperity of the place, which ensued, was intimated, it is said, by a presage which occurred while the plan of the city was tracing. The architects were engaged in marking out the line of the wall with chalk, and had consumed it all, when the king arrived; upon which the dispensers of flour supplied the workmen with a part of the flour, which was provided for their own use; and this substance was used in tracing the greater part of the divisions of the streets. This, they said, was a good omen for the city.'' None