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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9242
Philo Of Alexandria, On The Life Of Moses, 1.96


nanso that the number of the chastisements might be complete which was inflicted upon those who had completed their sins; and the punishment far transcended all ordinary visitations.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

11 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Genesis, 19.23-19.24 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

19.23. הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ יָצָא עַל־הָאָרֶץ וְלוֹט בָּא צֹעֲרָה׃ 19.24. וַיהוָה הִמְטִיר עַל־סְדֹם וְעַל־עֲמֹרָה גָּפְרִית וָאֵשׁ מֵאֵת יְהוָה מִן־הַשָּׁמָיִם׃ 19.23. The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot came unto Zoar." 19.24. Then the LORD caused to rain upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven;"
2. Plato, Timaeus, None (5th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

32b. had had to come into existence as a plane surface, having no depth, one middle term would have sufficed to bind together both itself and its fellow-terms; but now it is otherwise: for it behoved it to be solid of shape, and what brings solids into unison is never one middle term alone but always two. Thus it was that in the midst between fire and earth God set water and air, and having bestowed upon them so far as possible a like ratio one towards another—air being to water as fire to air, and water being to earth as air to water, —he joined together and constructed a Heaven visible and tangible. For these reason
3. Septuagint, Wisdom of Solomon, 19 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

4. Philo of Alexandria, On The Decalogue, 55, 54 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

5. Philo of Alexandria, On The Migration of Abraham, 181 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

181. but he differs from them widely in their opinion of God, not intimating that either the world itself, or the soul of the world, is the original God, nor that the stars or their motions are the primary causes of the events which happen among men; but he teaches that this universe is held together by invisible powers, which the Creator has spread from the extreme borders of the earth to heaven, making a beautiful provision to prevent what he has joined together from being dissolved; for the indissoluble chains which bind the universe are his powers.
6. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Moses, 1.6, 1.97, 1.106, 1.109-1.134, 1.142, 2.53, 2.64-2.65, 2.281-2.286 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.6. for the river of that country at the height of summer, when they say that all other rivers which are derived from winter torrents and from springs in the ground are smaller, rises and increases, and overflows so as to irrigate all the lands, and make them one vast lake. And so the land, without having any need of rain, supplies every year an unlimited abundance of every kind of good food, unless sometimes the anger of God interrupts this abundance by reason of the excessive impiety of the inhabitants. 1.97. And he divided his punishments, entrusting three, those which proceeded from those elements which are composed of more solid parts, namely, earth and water, from which all the corporeal distinctive realities are perfected, to the brother of Moses. An equal number, those which proceeded from the elements which are the most prolific of life, namely, air and fire, he committed to Moses himself alone. One, the seventh, he entrusted to both in common; the other three, to make up the whole number of ten, he reserved for himself. 1.106. And when they had a little recovered from this punishment, then, like wrestlers at the games, who have recovered fresh strength after a struggle, that so they may contend again with renewed vigour, they again returned to their original wickedness, forgetting the evils which they had already experienced. 1.109. And perhaps some one may here ask why God punished the land with such insignificant and generally despised animals, omitting bears, and lions, and leopards, and the other races of wild beasts who devour human flesh; and if he did not send these, at least, he might have sent Egyptian asps, the bites of which have naturally the power to cause death instantly. 1.110. But if such a man really does not know, let him learn, first of all, that God was desirous rather to admonish the Egyptians than to destroy them: for if he had designed to destroy them utterly once for all, he would not have employed animals to be, as it were, his coadjutors in the work of destruction, but rather such heaven-sent afflictions as famine and pestilence; 1.111. and in the second place, let him also learn a lesson which is necessary to be learnt, and applicable to every condition and age of life; and what is the lesson? This; that men, when they make war, seek out the most mighty powers to gain them over to their alliance, such as shall make amends for their own want of power: but God, who is the supreme and mightiest of all powers, having need of no assistant, if ever he desires to use any instruments as it were for the punishments which he desires to inflict, does not choose the most mighty or the greatest things as his ministers, since he takes but little heed of their capacity, but he uses insignificant and small agents, which he renders irresistible and invincible powers, and by their means he chastises those who do wrong, as he does in this instance 1.112. for what can be more insignificant than a louse? And yet it was so powerful that all Egypt fainted under the host of them, and was compelled to cry out, that "this is the anger of God." For all the earth put together, from one end to the other, could not withstand the hand of God, no nor all the universe. 1.113. Such then were the chastisements which were inflicted by the agency of the brother of Moses. But those in which Moses himself was the minister, and from what parts of nature they were derived, must be next considered. Now next after the earth and the water, the air and the heaven, which are the purest portions of the essences of the universe, succeeded them as the medium of the correction of the Egyptians: and of this correction Moses was the minister; 1.114. and first of all he began to operate upon the air. For Egypt almost alone, if you except those countries which lie to the south of the equator, never is subject to that one of the seasons of the year which is called winter, perhaps, as some say, from the fact of its not being at any great distance from the torrid zone, since the essence of fire flows from that quarter in an invisible manner, and scorches everything all around, or perhaps it is because the river overflows at the time of the summer solstice, and so consumes all the clouds before they can collect for winter; 1.115. for the river begins to rise at the beginning of the summer, and to fall towards the end of summer; during which period the etesian gales increase in violence blowing from a direction opposite to the mouths of the Nile, and by which it is prevented from flowing freely into the sea, and by the violence of which winds, the sea itself is also raised to a considerable height, and erects vast waves like a long wall, and so the river is agitated within the country. And then when the two streams meet together, the river descending from its sources above, and the waters which ought to escape abroad being turned back by the beating of the sea, and not being able to extend their breadth, for the banks on each side of the river confine its streams, the river, as is natural, rises to a height, and breaks its bounds; 1.116. perhaps also it does so because it was superfluous for winter to occur in Egypt; for the object for which showers of rain are usually serviceable, is in this instance provided for by the river which overflows the fields, and turns them into one vast lake, to make them productive of the annual crops; 1.117. but nature does not expend her powers to no purpose when they are not wanted, so as to provide rain for a land which does not require it, but it rejoices in the variety and diversity of scientific operations, and arranges the harmony of the universe from a number of opposite qualities. And for this reason it supplies the benefits which are derivable from water, to some countries, by bestowing it on them from above, namely from heaven, and to others it gives it from below by means of springs and rivers; 1.118. though then the land was thus arranged, and enjoyed spring during the winter solstice, and since it is only the parts along the seacoasts that are ever moistened with a few drops of rain, and since the country beyond Memphis, where the palace of the king of Egypt is, does never even see snow at all; now, on the contrary, the air suddenly assumed a new appearance, so that all the things which are seen in the most stormy and wintry countries, come upon it all together; abundance of rain, and torrents of dense and ceaseless hail, and heavy winds met together and beat against one another with violence; and the clouds burst, and there were incessant lightnings, and thunders, and continued roarings, and flashes which made a most wonderful and fearful appearance. For though the lightning and the thunderbolts penetrated and descended through the hail, being quite a contrary substance, still they did not melt it, nor were the flashes extinguished by it, but they remained as they were before, and ran up and down in long lines, and even preserved the hail. 1.119. And not only did the excessive violence of the storm drive all the inhabitants to excessive despair, but the unprecedented character of the visitation tended likewise to the same point. For they believed, as was indeed the case, that all these novel and fearful calamities were caused by the divine anger, the air having assumed a novel appearance, such as it had never worn before, to the destruction and overthrow of all trees and fruits, by which also great numbers of animals were destroyed, some in consequence of the exceeding cold, others though the weight of the hail which fell upon them, as if they had been stoned, while some again were destroyed by the fire of the lightning. And some remained half consumed, bearing the marks of the wounds caused by the thunderbolts, for the admonition and warning of all who saw them. 1.120. And when this evil had abated, and when the king and his court had again resumed their confidence, Moses stretched forth his rod into the air, at the command of God. And then a south wind of an uncommon violence set in, which increased in intensity and vehemence the whole of that day and night, being of itself a very great affliction; for it is a drying wind, causing headaches, and terrible to bear, calculated to cause grief, and terror, and perplexity in Egypt above all countries, inasmuch as it lies to the south, in which part of the heaven the revolutions of the light-giving stars take place, so that whenever that wind is set in motion, the light of the sun and its fire is driven in that direction and scorches up every thing. 1.121. And with this wind a countless number of animals was brought over the land, animals destroying all plants, locusts, which devoured every thing incessantly like a stream, consuming all that the thunderstorms and the hail had left, so that there was not a green shoot seen any longer in all that vast country. 1.122. And then at length the men in authority came, though late, to an accurate perception of the evils that had come upon them, and came and said to the king, "How long wilt thou refuse to permit the men to depart? Dost thou not understand, from what has already taken place, that Egypt is destroyed?" And he agreed to all they said, yielding as far as appearances went at least; but again, when the evil was abated at the prayer of Moses, the wind came from the sea side, and took up the locusts and scattered them. 1.123. And when they had been completely dispersed, and when the king was again obstinate respecting the allowing the nation to depart, a greater evil than the former ones was descended upon him. For while it was bright daylight, on a sudden, a thick darkness overspread the land, as if an eclipse of the sun more complete than any common one had taken place. And it continued with a long series of clouds and impenetrable density, all the course of the sun's rays being cut off by the massive thickness of the veil which was interposed, so that day did not at all differ from night. For what indeed did it resemble, but one very long night equal in length to three days and an equal number of nights? 1.124. And at this time they say that some persons threw themselves on their beds, and did not venture to rise up, and that some, when any of the necessities of nature overtook them, could only move with difficulty by feeling their way along the walls or whatever else they could lay hold of, like so many blind men; for even the light of the fire lit for necessary uses was either extinguished by the violence of the storm, or else it was made invisible and overwhelmed by the density of the darkness, so that that most indispensable of all the external senses, namely, sight, though unimpaired, was deprived of its office, not being able to discern any thing, and all the other senses were overthrown like subjects, the leader having fallen down. 1.125. For neither was any one able to speak or to hear, nor could any one venture to take food, but they lay themselves down in quiet and hunger, not exercising any of the outward senses, but being wholly overwhelmed by the affliction, till Moses again had compassion on them, and besought God in their behalf. And he restored fine weather, and produced light instead of darkness, and day instead of night. 1.126. Such, they say, were the punishments inflicted by the agency of Moses alone, the plague, namely, of hail and thunderstorms, the plague of locusts, and the plague of darkness, which rejected every imaginable description of light. Then he himself and his brother brought on one together, which I shall proceed to relate. 1.127. At the command of God they both took up ashes from the furnace in their hands, which Moses on his part sprinkled in the air. Then a dust arose on a sudden, and produced a terrible, and most painful, and incurable ulceration over the whole skin both of man and of the brute beasts; and immediately their bodies became swollen with the pustules, having blisters all over them full of matter which any one might have supposed were burning underneath and ready to burst; 1.128. and the men were, as was natural, oppressed with pain and excessive agony from the ulceration and inflammation, and they suffered in their souls even more than in their bodies, being wholly exhausted with anguish. For there was one vast uninterrupted sore to be seen from head to foot, those which covered any particular part of any separate limb spreading so as to become confused into one huge ulcer; until again, at the supplication of the lawgiver, which he made on behalf of the sufferers, the disease became more tolerable. 1.129. Therefore, in this instance the two brothers afforded the Egyptians this warning in unison, and very properly; the brother of Moses acting by means of the dust which rose up, since to him had been committed the superintendence of the things which proceeded from the earth; and Moses, by means of the air which was thus changed for the affliction of the inhabitants, and his ministrations were assigned to the afflictions to be cause by the air and by the heaven. 1.130. The remaining punishments are three in number, and they were inflicted by God himself without any agency or ministration of man, each of which I will now proceed to relate as well I can. The first is that which was inflicted by means of that animal which is the boldest in all nature, namely, the dog-fly (kynomuia 1.131. And so the dog-fly, having derived boldness from both these animals, is a biting and treacherous creature; for it shoots in from a distance with a whizzing sound like an arrow; and when it has reached its mark it sticks very closely with great force. 1.132. But at this time its attack was prompted by God, so that its treachery and hostility were redoubled, since it not only displayed all its own natural covetousness, but also all that eagerness which it derived from the divine providence which went it forth, and armed it and excited it to acts of valour against the natives. 1.133. And after the dog-fly there followed another punishment unconnected with any human agency, namely, the mortality among the cattle; for all the herds of oxen, and flocks of goats, and vast flocks of sheep, and all the beasts of burden, and all other domestic animals of every kind died in one day in a body, as if by some agreement or at some given signal; foreshowing the destruction of human beings which was about to take place a short time afterwards as in a pestilential disease; for the sudden destruction of irrational animals is said to be an ordinary prelude to pestilential diseases. 1.134. After which the tenth and last punishment came, exceeding in terror all that had gone before, namely, the death of the Egyptians themselves. Not of them all, for God had not decreed to make the whole country desolate, but only to correct it. Nor even of the greatest number of the men and women of every age all together, but he permitted the rest to live, and only passed sentence of death on all the first-born, beginning with the eldest of the king's sons, and ceasing with the first-born son of the most obscure grinder at the mill; 1.142. So they now prospered in both particulars: whether in that they received wages as it in price, which they now exacted from unwilling paymasters, who for a long period had not paid them at all; and, also, as if they were at war, they looked upon it as fitting to carry off the treasures of the enemy, according to the laws of conquerors; for it was the Egyptians who had set the example of acts of injustice, having, as I said before, enslaved foreigners and suppliants, as if they had been prisoners taken in war. And so they now, when an opportunity offered, avenged themselves without any preparation of arms, justice itself holding a shield over them, and stretching forth its hand to help them. 2.53. on which account those men who have had unbounded prosperity bestowed upon them, and all things tending to the production of health of body, and riches, and glory, and all other external parts of good fortune, but who have rejected virtue, and have chosen crafty wickedness, and all others kinds of vice, not through compulsion, but of their own spontaneous free will, looking upon that which is the greatest of all evils as the greatest possible advantage, he looks upon as enemies not of mankind only, but of the entire heaven and world, and says that they are awaiting, not any ordinary punishments, but new and extraordinary ones, which that constant assessor of God, justice, who detests wickedness, invents and inflicts terribly upon them, turning against them the most powerful elements of the universe, water and fire, so that at appointed times some are destroyed by deluges, others are burnt with fire, and perish in that manner. 2.64. But after the purification, in this way, of all the things beneath the moon, the earth being thus washed and appearing new again, and such as it appeared to be when it was at first created, along with the entire universe, Noah came forth out of his wooden edifice, himself and his wife, and his sons and their wives, and with his family there came forth likewise, in one company, all the races of animals which had gone in with them, in order to the generation and propagation of similar creatures in future. 2.65. These are the rewards and honours for pre-eminent excellence given to good men, by means of which, not only did they themselves and their families obtain safety, having escaped from the greatest dangers which were thus aimed against all men all over the earth, by the change in the character of the elements; but they became also the founders of a new generation, and the chiefs of a second period of the world, being left behind as sparks of the most excellent kind of creatures, namely, of men, man having received the supremacy over all earthly creatures whatsoever, being a kind of copy of the powers of God, a visible image of his invisible nature, a created image of an uncreated and immortal Original.{1}{yonge's translation includes a separate treatise title at this point: On the Life of Moses, That Is to Say, On the Theology and Prophetic office of Moses, Book III. Accordingly, his next paragraph begins with roman numeral I (= XIII in the Loeb 2.281. and this shall be discerned in the end of their life: for it they receive the ordinary death according to nature, then I have invented these oracles; but if they experience a new and unprecedented destruction, then my truth will be testified to; for I see chasms of the earth opening against them, and widened to the greatest extent, and numbers of men perishing in them, dragged down into the gulf with all their kindred, and their very houses swallowed up, and the men going down alive into hell. 2.282. And when he ceased speaking the earth was cloven asunder, being shaken by an earthquake, and it was burst open, especially where the tents of those wicked men were so that they were all swallowed up together, and so hidden from sight. For the parts which were rent asunder came together again as soon as the purpose for which they had been divided was accomplished. 2.283. And a little after this thunderbolts fell on a sudden from heaven, and slew two hundred men, the leaders of this sedition, and destroyed them all together, not leaving any portion of their bodies to receive burial. 2.284. And the rapid and unintermittent character of the punishment, and the magnitude of each infliction, rendered the piety of the prophet conspicuous and universally celebrated, as he thus brought God forward as a witness of the truth of his oracular denunciations. 2.285. We must also not overlook this circumstance, that both earth and heaven, which are the first principles of the universe, bore their share in the punishment of these wicked men, for they had rooted their wickedness in the earth, and extended it up to the sky, raising it to that vast height 2.286. on which account each of the elements contributed its part to their chastisement, the earth, so as to drag down and swallow up those who were at that time weighing it down, bursting asunder and dividing; and the heaven, by tearing up and destroying them, raining down a mighty storm of much fire, a most novel kind of rain, and the end was the same
7. Philo of Alexandria, Questions On Genesis, 3.3, 4.51 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

8. Philo of Alexandria, Who Is The Heir, 301 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

301. but we must not be ignorant that he was well acquainted with the consequences, and connection, and reciprocal dependence of the causes of things, inasmuch as he was a philosophical man, accustomed to converse with God: and he does not attribute the causes of things which exist, or which take place, to these powers; for he imagined to himself some other more ancient power, mounted upon the universe, like a charioteer, or like the pilot of a ship; for this power steers the whole common vessel of the world in which all things sail, and he bridles the course of the winged chariot, the entire heaven, exerting an independent and absolute sovereign authority.
9. Strabo, Geography, 17.1 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

17.1. 1. BOOK 17WHEN we were describing Arabia, we included in the description the gulfs which compress and make it a peninsula, namely the Gulfs of Arabia and of Persis. We described at the same time some parts of Egypt, and those of Ethiopia, inhabited by the Troglodytae, and by the people situated next to them, extending to the confines of the Cinnamon country.We are now to describe the remaining parts contiguous to these nations, and situated about the Nile. We shall then give an account of Africa, which remains to complete this treatise on Geography.And here we must previously adduce the opinions of Eratosthenes.,2. He says, that the Nile is distant from the Arabian Gulf towards the west 1000 stadia, and that it resembles (in its course) the letter N reversed. For after flowing, he says, about 2700 stadia from Meroe towards the north, it turns again to the south, and to the winter sunset, continuing its course for about 3700 stadia, when it is almost in the latitude of the places about Meroe. Then entering far into Africa, and having made another bend, it flows towards the north, a distance of 5300 stadia, to the great cataract; and inclining a little to the east, traverses a distance of 1200 stadia to the smaller cataract at Syene, and 5300 stadia more to the sea.Two rivers empty themselves into it, which issue out of some lakes towards the east, and encircle Meroe, a considerable island. One of these rivers is called Astaboras, flowing along the eastern side of the island. The other is the Astapus, or, as some call it, Astasobas. But the Astapus is said to be another river, which issues out of some lakes on the south, and that this river forms nearly the body of the (stream of the) Nile, which flows in a straight line, and that it is filled by the summer rains; that above the confluence of the Astaboras and the Nile, at the distance of 700 stadia, is Meroe, a city having the same name as the island; and that there is another island above Meroe, occupied by the fugitive Egyptians, who revolted in the time of Psammitichus, and are called Sembritae, or foreigners. Their sovereign is a queen, but they obey the king of Meroe.The lower parts of the country on each side Meroe, along the Nile towards the Red Sea, are occupied by Megabari and Blemmyes, who are subject to the Ethiopians, and border upon the Egyptians; about the sea are Troglodytae. The Troglodytae, in the latitude of Meroe, are distant ten or twelve days' journey from the Nile. On the left of the course of the Nile live Nubae in Libya, a populous nation. They begin from Meroe, and extend as far as the bends (of the river). They are not subject to the Ethiopians, but live independently, being distributed into several sovereignties.The extent of Egypt along the sea, from the Pelusiac to the Canobic mouth, is 1300 stadia.Such is the account of Eratosthenes.,3. We must, however, enter into a further detail of particulars. And first, we must speak of the parts about Egypt, proceeding from those that are better known to those which follow next in order.The Nile produces some common effects in this and the contiguous tract of country, namely, that of the Ethiopians above it, in watering them at the time of its rise, and leaving those parts only habitable which have been covered by the inundation; it intersects the higher lands, and all the tract elevated above its current on both sides, which however are uninhabited and a desert, from an absolute want of water. But the Nile does not traverse the whole of Ethiopia, nor alone, nor in a straight line, nor a country which is well inhabited. But Egypt it traverses both alone and entirely, and in a straight line, from the lesser cataract above Syene and Elephantine, (which are the boundaries of Egypt and Ethiopia,) to the mouths by which it discharges itself into the sea. The Ethiopians at present lead for the most part a wandering life, and are destitute of the means of subsistence, on account of the barrenness of the soil, the disadvantages of climate, and their great distance from us.Now the contrary is the case with the Egyptians in all these respects. For they have lived from the first under a regular form of government, they were a people of civilized manners, and were settled in a well-known country; their institutions have been recorded and mentioned in terms of praise, for they seemed to have availed themselves of the fertility of their country in the best possible manner by the partition of it (and by the classification of persons) which they adopted, and by their general care.When they had appointed a king, they divided the people into three classes, into soldiers, husbandmen, and priests. The latter had the care of everything relating to sacred things (of the gods), the others of what related to man; some had the management of warlike affairs, others attended to the concerns of peace, the cultivation of the ground, and the practice of the arts, from which the king derived his revenue.The priests devoted themselves to the study of philosophy and astronomy, and were companions of the kings.The country was at first divided into nomes. The Thebais contained ten, the Delta ten, and the intermediate tract sixteen. But according to some writers, all the nomes together amounted to the number of chambers in the Labyrinth. Now these were less than thirty [six]. The nomes were again divided into other sections. The greater number of the nomes were distributed into toparchies, and these again into other sections ; the smallest portions were the arourae.An exact and minute division of the country was required by the frequent confusion of boundaries occasioned at the time of the rise of the Nile, which takes away, adds, and alters the various shapes of the bounds, and obliterates other marks by which the property of one person is distinguished from that of another. It was consequently necessary to measure the land repeatedly. Hence it is said geometry originated here, as the art of keeping accounts and arithmetic originated with the Phoenicians, in consequence of their commerce.As the whole population of the country, so the separate population in each nome, was divided into three classes ; the territory also was divided into three equal portions.The attention and care bestowed upon the Nile is so great as to cause industry to triumph over nature. The ground by nature, and still more by being supplied with water, produces a great abundance of fruits. By nature also a greater rise of the river irrigates a larger tract of land; but industry has completely succeeded in rectifying the deficiency of nature, so that in seasons when the rise of the river has been less than usual, as large a portion of the country is irrigated by means of canals and embankments, as in seasons when the rise of the river has been greater.Before the times of Petronius there was the greatest plenty, and the rise of the river was the greatest when it rose to the height of fourteen cubits; but when it rose to eight only, a famine ensued. During the government of Petronius, however, when the Nile rose twelve cubits only, there was a most abundant crop; and once when it mounted to eight only, no famine followed. Such then is the nature of this provision for the physical state of the country. We shall now proceed to the next particulars.,4. The Nile, when it leaves the boundaries of Ethiopia, flows in a straight line towards the north, to the tract called the Delta, then 'cloven at the head,' (according to the expression of Plato,) makes this point the vertex, as it were, of a triangle, the sides of which are formed by the streams, which separate on each side, and extend to the sea, one on the right hand to Pelusium, the other on the left to Canobus and the neighbouring Heracleium, as it is called ; the base is the coast lying between Pelusium and the Heracleium.An island was therefore formed by the sea and by both streams of the river, which is called Delta from the resemblance of its shape to the letter (Δ) of that name. The spot at the vertex of the triangle has the same appellation, because it is the beginning of the above-mentioned triangular figure. The village, also, situated upon it is called Delta.These then are two mouths of the Nile, one of which is called the Pelusiac, the other the Canobic and Heracleiotic mouth. Between these are five other outlets, some of which are considerable, but the greater part are of inferior importance. For many others branch off from the principal streams, and are distributed over the whole of the island of the Delta, and form many streams and islands; so that the whole Delta is accessible to boats, one canal succeeding another, and navigated with so much ease, that some persons make use of rafts floated on earthen pots, to transport them from place to place.The whole island is about 3000 stadia in circumference, and is called, as also the lower country, with the land on the opposite sides of the streams, the Delta.But at the time of the rising of the Nile, the whole country is covered, and resembles a sea, except the inhabited spots, which are situated upon natural hills or mounds ; and considerable cities and villages appear like islands in the distant prospect.The water, after having continued on the ground more than forty days in summer, then subsides by degrees, in the same manner as it rose. In sixty days the plain is entirely exposed to view, and dries up. The sooner the land is dry, so much the sooner the ploughing and sowing are accomplished, and it dries earlier in those parts where the heat is greater.The country above the Delta is irrigated in the same manner, except that the river flows in a straight line to the distance of about 4000 stadia in one channel, unless where some island intervenes, the most considerable of which comprises the Heracleiotic Nome; or, where it is diverted by a canal into a large lake, or a tract of country which it is capable of irrigating, as the lake Moeris and the Arsinoite Nome, or where the canals discharge themselves into the Mareotis.In short, Egypt, from the mountains of Ethiopia to the vertex of the Delta, is merely a river tract on each side of the Nile, and rarely if anywhere comprehends in one continued line a habitable territory of 300 stadia in breadth. It resembles, except the frequent diversions of its course, a bandage rolled out.The mountains on each side (of the Nile), which descend from the parts about Syene to the Egyptian Sea, give this shape to the river tract of which I am speaking, and to the country. For in proportion as these mountains extend along that tract, or recede from each other, in the same degree is the river contracted or expanded, and they impart to the habitable country its variety of shape. But the country beyond the mountains is in a great measure uninhabited.,5. The ancients understood more by conjecture than otherwise, but persons in later times learnt by experience as eyewitnesses, that the Nile owes its rise to summer rains, which fall in great abundance in Upper Ethiopia, particularly in the most distant mountains. On the rains ceasing, the fulness of the river gradually subsides. This was particularly observed by those who navigated the Arabian Gulf on their way to the Cinnamon country, and by those who were sent out to hunt elephants, or for such other purposes as induced the Ptolemies, kings of Egypt, to despatch persons in that direction. These sovereigns had directed their attention to objects of this kind, particularly Ptolemy surnamed Philadelphus, who was a lover of science, and on account of bodily infirmities always in search of some new diversion and amusement. But the ancient kings paid little attention to such inquiries, although both they and the priests, with whom they passed the greater part of their lives, professed to be devoted to the study of philosophy. Their ignorance therefore is more surprising, both on this account and because Sesostris had traversed the whole of Ethiopia as far as the Cinnamon country, of which expedition monuments exist even to the present day, such as pillars and inscriptions. Cambyses also, when he was in possession of Egypt, had advanced with the Egyptians as far even as Meroe; and it is said that he gave this name both to the island and to the city, because his sister, or according to some writers his wife, Meroe died there. For this reason therefore he conferred the appellation on the island, and in honour of a woman. It is surprising how, with such opportunities of obtaining information, the history of these rains should not have been clearly known to persons living in those times, especially as the priests registered with the greatest diligence in the sacred books all extraordinary facts, and preserved records of everything which seemed to contribute to an increase of knowledge. And, if this had been the case, would it be necessary to inquire what is even still a question, what can possibly be the reason why rain falls in summer, and not in winter, in the most southerly parts of the country, but not in the Thebais, nor in the country about Syene ? nor should we have to examine whether the rise of the water of the Nile is occasioned by rains, nor require such evidence for these facts as Poseidonius adduces. For he says, that Callisthenes asserts that the cause of the rise of the river is the rain of summer. This he borrows from Aristotle, who borrowed it from Thrasyalces the Thasian (one of the ancient writers on physics), Thrasyalces from some other person, and he from Homer, who calls the Nile 'heaven-descended:' back to Egypt's heaven-descended stream. But I quit this subject, since it has been discussed by many writers, among whom it will be sufficient to specify two, who have (each) composed in our times a treatise on the Nile, Eudorus and Aristo the Peripatetic philosopher. [They differ little from each other] except in the order and disposition of the works, for the phraseology and execution is the same in both writers. (I can speak with some confidence in this matter), for when at a loss (for manuscripts) for the purpose of comparison and copy, I collated both authors. But which of them surreptitiously substituted the other's account as his own, we may go to the temple of Ammon to be informed. Eudorus accused Aristo, but the style is more like that of Aristo.The ancients gave the name of Egypt to that country only which was inhabited and watered by the Nile, and the extent they assigned to it was from the neighbourhood of Syene to the sea. But later writers, to the present time, have included on the eastern side almost all the tract between the Arabian Gulf and the Nile (the Aethiopians however do not make much use of the Red Sea); on the western side, the tract extending to the Auases and the parts of the sea-coast from the Canobic mouth of the Nile to Catabathmus, and the kingdom of Cyrenaea. For the kings who succeeded the race of the Ptolemies had acquired so much power, that they became masters of Cyrenaea, and even joined Cyprus to Egypt. The Romans, who succeeded to their dominions, separated Egypt, and confined it within the old limits.The Egyptians give the name of Auases (Oases) to certain inhabited tracts, which are surrounded by extensive deserts, and appear like islands in the sea. They are frequently met with in Libya, and there are three contiguous to Egypt, and dependent upon it.This is the account which we have to give of Egypt in general and summarily. I shall now describe the separate parts of the country and their advantages.,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.,7. The advantages of the city are of various kinds. The site is washed by two seas; on the north, by what is called the Egyptian Sea, and on the south, by the sea of the lake Mareia, which is also called Mareotis. This lake is filled by many canals from the Nile, both by those above and those at the sides, through which a greater quantity of merchandise is imported than by those communicating with the sea. Hence the harbour on the lake is richer than the maritime harbour. The exports by sea from Alexandreia exceed the imports. This any person may ascertain, either at Alexandreia or Dicaearchia, by watching the arrival and departure of the merchant vessels, and observing how much heavier or lighter their cargoes are when they depart or when they return.In addition to the wealth derived from merchandise landed at the harbours on each side, on the sea and on the lake, its fine air is worthy of remark: this results from the city being on two sides surrounded by water, and from the favourable effects of the rise of the Nile. For other cities, situated near lakes, have, during the heats of summer, a heavy and suffocating atmosphere, and lakes at their margins become swampy by the evaporation occasioned by the sun's heat. When a large quantity of moisture is exhaled from swamps, a noxious vapour rises, and is the cause of pestilential disorders. But at Alexandreia, at the beginning of summer, the Nile, being full, fills the lake also, and leaves no marshy matter which is likely to occasion maligt exhalations. At the same period, the Etesian winds blow from the north, over a large expanse of sea, and the Alexandrines in consequence pass their summer very pleasantly.,8. The shape of the site of the city is that of a chlamys or military cloak. The sides, which determine the length, are surrounded by water, and are about thirty stadia in extent; but the isthmuses, which determine the breadth of the sides, are each of seven or eight stadia, bounded on one side by the sea, and on the other by the lake. The whole city is intersected by roads for the passage of horsemen and chariots. Two of these are very broad, exceeding a plethrum in breadth, and cut one another at right angles. It contains also very beautiful public grounds and royal palaces, which occupy a fourth or even a third part of its whole extent. For as each of the kings was desirous of adding some embellishment to the places dedicated to the public use, so, besides the buildings already existing, each of them erected a building at his own expense; hence the expression of the poet may be here applied, one after the other springs. All the buildings are connected with one another and with the harbour, and those also which are beyond it.The Museum is a part of the palaces. It has a public walk and a place furnished with seats, and a large hall, in which the men of learning, who belong to the Museum, take their common meal. This community possesses also property in common; and a priest, formerly appointed by the kings, but at present by Caesar, presides over the Museum.A part belonging to the palaces consists of that called Sema, an enclosure, which contained the tombs of the kings and that of Alexander (the Great). For Ptolemy the son of Lagus took away the body of Alexander from Perdiccas, as he was conveying it down from Babylon; for Perdiccas had turned out of his road towards Egypt, incited by ambition and a desire of making himself master of the country. When Ptolemy had attacked [and made him prisoner], he intended to [spare his life and] confine him in a desert island, but he met with a miserable end at the hand of his own soldiers, who rushed upon and despatched him by transfixing him with the long Macedonian spears. The kings who were with him, Aridaeus, and the children of Alexander, and Roxana his wife, departed to Macedonia. Ptolemy carried away the body of Alexander, and deposited it at Alexandreia in the place where it now lies; not indeed in the same coffin, for the present one is of hyalus (alabaster ?) whereas Ptolemy had deposited it in one of gold: it was plundered by Ptolemy surnamed Cocce's son and Pareisactus, who came from Syria and was quickly deposed, so that his plunder was of no service to him.,9. In the great harbour at the entrance, on the right hand, are the island and the Pharos tower; on the left are the reef of rocks and the promontory Lochias, with a palace upon it: at the entrance, on the left hand, are the inner palaces, which are continuous with those on the Lochias, and contain numerous painted apartments and groves. Below lies the artificial and close harbour, appropriated to the use of the kings; and Antirrhodus a small island, facing the artificial harbour, with a palace on it, and a small port. It was called Antirrhodus, a rival as it were of Rhodes.Above this is the theatre, then the Poseidium, a kind of elbow projecting from the Emporium, as it is called, with a temple of Neptune upon it. To this Antony added a mound, projecting still further into the middle of the harbour, and built at the extremity a royal mansion, which he called Timonium. This was his last act, when, deserted by his partisans, he retired to Alexandreia after his defeat at Actium, and intended, being forsaken by so many friends, to lead the [solitary] life of Timon for the rest of his days.Next are the Caesarium, the Emporium, and the Apostaseis, or magazines: these are followed by docks, extending to the Heptastadium. This is the description of the great harbour.,10. Next after the Heptastadium is the harbour of Eunostus, and above this the artificial harbour, called Cibotus (or the Ark), which also has docks. At the bottom of this harbour is a navigable canal, extending to the lake Mareotis. Beyond the canal there still remains a small part of the city. Then follows the suburb Necropolis, in which are numerous gardens, burial-places, and buildings for carrying on the process of embalming the dead.On this side the canal is the Sarapium and other ancient sacred places, which are now abandoned on account of the erection of the temples at Nicopolis; for [there are situated] an amphitheatre and a stadium, and there are celebrated quinquennial games; but the ancient rites and customs are neglected.In short, the city of Alexandreia abounds with public and sacred buildings. The most beautiful of the former is the Gymnasium, with porticos exceeding a stadium in extent. In the middle of it are the court of justice and groves. Here also is a Paneium, an artificial mound of the shape of a fir-cone, resembling a pile of rock, to the top of which there is an ascent by a spiral path. From the summit may be seen the whole city lying all around and beneath it.The wide street extends in length along the Gymnasium from the Necropolis to the Canobic gate. Next is the Hippodromos (or race-course), as it is called, and other buildings near it, and reaching to the Canobic canal. After passing through the Hippodromos is the Nicopolis, which contains buildings fronting the sea not less numerous than a city. It is 30 stadia distant from Alexandreia. Augustus Caesar distinguished this place, because it was here that he defeated Antony and his party of adherents. He took the city at the first onset, and compelled Antony to put himself to death, but Cleopatra to surrender herself alive. A short time afterwards, however, she also put an end to her life secretly, in prison, by the bite of an asp, or (for there are two accounts) by the application of a poisonous ointment. Thus the empire of the Lagidae, which had subsisted many years, was dissolved.,11. Alexander was succeeded by Ptolemy the son of Lagus, the son of Lagus by Philadelphus, Philadelphus by Euergetes; next succeeded Philopator the lover of Agathocleia, then Epiphanes, afterwards Philometor, the son (thus far) always succeeding the father. But Philometor was succeeded by his brother, the second Euergetes, who was also called Physcon. He was succeeded by Ptolemy surnamed Lathurus, Lathurus by Auletes of our time, who was the father of Cleopatra. All these kings, after the third Ptolemy, were corrupted by luxury and effeminacy, and the affairs of government were very badly administered by them; but worst of all by the fourth, the seventh, and the last, Auletes (or the Piper), who, besides other deeds of shamelessness, acted the piper; indeed he gloried so much in the practice, that he scrupled not to appoint trials of skill in his palace; on which occasions he presented himself as a competitor with other rivals. He was deposed by the Alexandrines; and of his three daughters, one, the eldest, who was legitimate, they proclaimed queen; but his two sons, who were infants, were absolutely excluded from the succession.As a husband for the daughter established on the throne, the Alexandrines invited one Cybiosactes from Syria, who pretended to be descended from the Syrian kings. The queen after a few days, unable to endure his coarseness and vulgarity, rid herself of him by causing him to be strangled. She afterwards married Archelaus, who also pretended to be the son of Mithridates Eupator, but he was really the son of that Archelaus who carried on war against Sulla, and was afterwards honourably treated by the Romans. He was grandfather of the last king of Cappadocia in our time, and priest of Comana in Pontus. He was then (at the time we are speaking of) the guest of Gabinius, and intended to accompany him in an expedition against the Parthians, but unknown to Gabinius, he was conducted away by some (friends) to the queen, and declared king.At this time Pompey the Great entertained Auletes as his guest on his arrival at Rome, and recommended him to the senate, negotiated his return, and contrived the execution of most of the deputies, in number a hundred, who had undertaken to appear against him: at their head was Dion the academic philosopher.Ptolemy (Auletes) on being restored by Gabinius, put to death both Archelaus and his daughter; but not long after he was reinstated in his kingdom, he died a natural death, leaving two sons and two daughters, the eldest of whom was Cleopatra.The Alexandrines declared as sovereigns the eldest son and Cleopatra. But the adherents of the son excited a sedition, and banished Cleopatra, who retired with her sister into Syria.It was about this time that Pompey the Great, in his flight from Palaepharsalus, came to Pelusium and Mount Casium. He was treacherously slain by the king's party. When Caesar arrived, he put the young prince to death, and sending for Cleopatra from her place of exile, appointed her queen of Egypt, declaring also her surviving brother, who was very young, and herself joint sovereigns.After the death of Caesar and the battle at Pharsalia, Antony passed over into Asia; he raised Cleopatra to the highest dignity, made her his wife, and had children by her. He was present with her at the battle of Actium, and accompanied her in her flight. Augustus Caesar pursued them, put an end to their power, and rescued Egypt from misgovernment and revelry.,12. At present Egypt is a (Roman) province, pays considerable tribute, and is well governed by prudent persons, who are sent there in succession. The governor thus sent out has the rank of king. Subordinate to him is the administrator of justice, who is the supreme judge in many causes. There is another officer, who is called Idiologus, whose business it is to inquire into property for which there is no claimant, and which of right falls to Caesar. These are accompanied by Caesar's freedmen and stewards, who are entrusted with affairs of more or less importance.Three legions are stationed in Egypt, one in the city, the rest in the country. Besides these there are also nine Roman cohorts, three quartered in the city, three on the borders of Ethiopia in Syene, as a guard to that tract, and three in other parts of the country. There are also three bodies of cavalry distributed in convenient posts.of the native magistrates in the cities, the first is the expounder of the law, who is dressed in scarlet; he receives the customary honours of the country, and has the care of providing what is necessary for the city. The second is the writer of records, the third is the chief judge. The fourth is the commander of the night guard. These magistrates existed in the time of the kings, but in consequence of the bad administration of affairs by the latter, the prosperity of the city was ruined by licentiousness. Polybius expresses his indignation at the state of things when lie was there: he describes the inhabitants of the city to be composed of three classes; the (first) Egyptians and natives, acute but indifferent citizens, and meddling with civil affairs. Tile second, the mercenaries, a numerous and undisciplined body ; for it was an ancient custom to maintain foreign soldiers, who, from the worthlessness of their sovereigns, knew better how to govern than to obey. The third were the Alexandrines, who, for the same reason, were not orderly citizens; but still they were better than the mercenaries, for although they were a mixed race, yet being of Greek origin, they retained the customs common to the Greeks. But this class was extinct nearly about the time of Euergetes Physcon, in whose reign Polybius came to Alexandreia. For Physcon, being distressed by factions, frequently exposed the multitude to the attacks of the soldiery, and thus destroyed them. By such a state of things in the city the words of the poet (says Polybius) were verified: The way to Egypt is long and vexatious.,13. Such then, if not worse, was the condition of the city under the last kings. The Romans, as far as they were able, corrected, as I have said, many abuses, and established an orderly government, by appointing vice-governors, nomarchs, and ethnarchs, whose business it was to superintend affairs of minor importance.The greatest advantage which the city possesses arises from its being the only place in all Egypt well situated by nature for communication with the sea by its excellent harbour, and with the land by the river, by means of which everything is easily transported and collected together into this city, which is the greatest mart in the habitable world.These may be said to be the superior excellencies of the city. Cicero, in one of his orations, in speaking of the revenues of Egypt, states that an annual tribute of 12,000 talents was paid to Auletes, the father of Cleopatra. If then a king, who administered his government in the worst possible manner, and with the greatest negligence, obtained so large a revenue, what must we suppose it to be at present, when affairs are administered with great care, and when the commerce with India and with Troglodytica has been so greatly increased ? For formerly not even twenty vessels ventured to navigate the Arabian Gulf, or advance to the smallest distance beyond the straits at its mouth; but now large fleets are despatched as far as India and the extremities of Ethiopia, from which places the most valuable freights are brought to Egypt, and are thence exported to other parts, so that a double amount of custom is collected, arising from imports on the one hand, and from exports on the other. The most expensive description of goods is charged with the heaviest impost; for in fact Alexandreia has a monopoly of trade, and is almost the only receptacle for this kind of merchandise and place of supply for foreigners. The natural convenience of the situation is still more apparent to persons travelling through the country, and particularly along the coast which commences at the Catabathmus; for to this place Egypt extends.Next to it is Cyrenaea, and the neighboring barbarians, the Marmaridae.,14. From the Catabathmus to Paraetonium is a run of 900 stadia for a vessel in a direct course. There is a city and a large harbour of about 40 stadia in extent, by some called the city Paraetonium, by others, Ammonia. Between these is the village of the Egyptians, and the promontory Aenesisphyra, and the Tyndareian rocks, four small islands, with a harbour; then Drepanum a promontory, and Aenesippeia an island with a harbour, and Apis a village, from which to Paraetonium are 100 stadia; [from thence] to the temple of Ammon is a journey of five days. From Paraetonium to Alexandreia are about 1300 stadia. Between these are, first, a promontory of white earth, called Leuke Akte, then Phoenicus a harbour, and Pnigeus a village; after these the island Sidonia (Pedonia ?) with a harbour; then a little further off from the sea, Antiphrae. The whole of this country produces no wine of a good quality, and the earthen jars contain more sea-water than wine, which is called Libyan; this and beer are the principal beverage of the common people of Alexandreia. Antiphrae in particular was a subject of ridicule (on account of its bad wine).Next is the harbour Derrhis, which has its name from an adjacent black rock, resembling δέῤῥις, a hide. The neighbouring place is called Zephyrium. Then follows another harbour, Leucaspis (the white shield), and many others; then the Cynossema (or dog's monument); then Taposeiris, not that situated upon the sea; here is held a great public festival. There is another Taposeiris, situated at a considerable distance beyond the city (Alexandreia). Near this, and close to the sea, is a rocky spot, which is the resort of great numbers of people at all seasons of the year, for the purpose of feasting and amusement. Next is Plinthine, and the village of Nicium, and Cherronesus a fortress, distant from Alexandreia and the Necropolis about 70 stadia.The lake Mareia, which extends as far as this place, is more than 150 stadia in breadth, and in length less than 300 stadia. It contains eight islands. The whole country about it is well inhabited. Good wine also is produced here, and in such quantity that the Mareotic wine is racked in order that it may be kept to be old.,15. The byblus and the Egyptian bean grow in the marshes and lakes; from the latter the ciborium is made. The stalks of the bean are nearly of equal height, and grow to the length of ten feet. The byblus is a bare stem, with a tuft on the top. But the bean puts out leaves and flowers in many parts, and bears a fruit similar to our bean, differing only in size and taste. The bean-grounds present an agreeable sight, and afford amusement to those who are disposed to recreate themselves with convivial feasts. These entertainments take place in boats with cabins; they enter the thickest part of the plantation, where they are overshadowed with the leaves, which are very large, and serve for drinking-cups and dishes, having a hollow which fits them for the purpose. They are found in great abundance in the shops in Alexandreia, where they are used as vessels. One of the sources of land revenue is the sale of these leaves. Such then is the nature of this bean.The byblus does not grow here in great abundance, for it is not cultivated. But it abounds in the lower parts of the Delta. There is one sort inferior to the other. The best is the hieratica. Some persons intending to augment the revenue, employed in this case a method which the Jews practised with the palm, especially the caryotic, and with the balsamum. In many places it is not allowed to be cultivated, and the price is enhanced by its rarity: the revenue is indeed thus increased, but the general consumption [of the article] is injured.,16. On passing through the Canobic gate of the city, on the right hand is the canal leading to Canobus, close to the lake. They sail by this canal to Schedia, to the great river, and to Canobus, but the first place at which they arrive is Eleusis. This is a settlement near Alexandreia and Nicopolis, and situated on the Canobic canal. It has houses of entertainment which command beautiful views, and hither resort men and women who are inclined to indulge in noisy revelry, a prelude to Canobic life, and the dissolute manners of the people of Canobus.At a little distance from Eleusis, on the right hand, is the canal leading towards Schedia. Schedia is distant four schoeni from Alexandreia. It is a suburb of the city, and has a station for the vessels with cabins, which convey the governors when they visit the upper parts of the country. Here is collected the duty on merchandise, as it is transported up or down the river. For this purpose a bridge of boats is laid across the river, and from this kind of bridge the place has the name of Schedia.Next after the canal leading to Schedia, the navigation thence to Canobus is parallel to the sea-coast, extending from Pharos to the Canobic mouth. For between the sea and the canal, is a narrow band of ground, on which is situated the smaller Zephyrium, which lies next after Nicopolis, and Zephyrium a promontory, on which is a small temple dedicated to Venus Arsinoe.Anciently, it is said, a city called Thonis stood there, which bears the name of the king, who entertained as his guests Menelaus and Helen. The poet thus speaks of the drugs which were given to Helen, the potent drugs, which Polydamna, the wife of Thon, gave to Helen.,17. Canobus is a city, distant by land from Alexandreia 120 stadia. It has its name from Canobus, the pilot of Menelaus, who died there. It contains the temple of Sarapis, held in great veneration, and celebrated for the cure of diseases; persons even of the highest rank confide in them, and sleep there themselves on their own account, or others for them. Some persons record the cures, and others the veracity of the oracles which are delivered there. But remarkable above everything else is the multitude of persons who resort to the public festivals, and come from Alexandreia by the canal. For day and night there are crowds of men and women in boats, singing and dancing, without restraint, and with the utmost licentiousness. Others, at Canobus itself, keep hostelries situated on the banks of the canal, which are well adapted for such kind of diversion and revelry.,18. Next to Canobus is Heracleium, in which is a temple of Hercules; then follows the Canobic mouth, and the commencement of the Delta.On the right of the Canobic canal is the Menelaite Nome, so called from the brother of the first Ptolemy, but certainly not from the hero (Menelaus), as some writers assert, among whom is Artemidorus.Next to the Canobic mouth is the Bolbitine, then the Sebennytic, and the Phatnitic, which is the third in magnitude compared with the first two, which form the boundaries of the Delta. For it branches off into the interior, not far from the vertex of the Delta. The Mendesian is very near the Phatnitic mouth; next is the Tanitic, and lastly the Pelusiac mouth. There are others, which are of little consequence, between these, since they are as it were false mouths.The mouths have entrances which are not capable of admitting large vessels, but lighters only, on account of the shallows and marshes. The Canobic mart is principally used as a mart for merchandise, the harbours at Alexandreia being closed, as I have said before.After the Bolbitine mouth there runs out to a great distance a low and sandy promontory. It is called Agnu-ceras (or Willow Point). Then follows the watch-tower of Perseus, and the fortress of the Milesians. For in the time of Psammitichus, and when Cyaxares was king of the Medes, some Milesians with 30 vessels steered into the Bolbitine mouth, disembarked there, and built the above-mentioned fortress. Some time afterwards they sailed up to the Saitic Nome. and having conquered Inarus in an engagement at sea, founded the city Naucratis, not far above Schedia.Next after the fortress of the Milesians, in proceeding towards the Sebennytic mouth, are lakes, one of which is called Butice, from the city Butus; then the city Sebennytice and Sais, the capital of the lower country; here Minerva is worshipped. In the temple there of this goddess, is the tomb of Psammitichus. Near Butus is Hermopolis, situated in an island, and at Butus is an oracle of Latona.,19. In the interior above the Sebennytic and Phatnitic mouths is Xois, both an island and a city in the Sebennytic Nome. There are also Hermopolis, Lycopolis, and Mendes, where Pan is worshipped, and of animals a goat. Here, according to Pindar, goats have intercourse with women.Near Mendes are Diospolis, and the lakes about it, and Leontopolis; then further on, the city Busiris, in the Busirite Nome, and Cynospolis.Eratosthenes says, 'That to repel strangers is a practice common to all barbarians, but that this charge against the Egyptians is derived from fabulous stories related of (one) Busiris and his people in the Busirite Nome, as some persons in later times were disposed to charge the inhabitants of this place with inhospitality, although in truth there was neither king nor tyrant of the name of Busiris: that besides there was a common saying, The way to Egypt is long and vexatious, which originated in the want of harbours, and in the state of the harbour at Pharos, which was not of free access, but watched and guarded by herdsmen, who were robbers, and attacked those who attempted to sail into it. The Carthaginians drown [he says] any strangers who sail past, on their voyage to Sardinia or to the Pillars. Hence much of what is related of the parts towards the west is discredited. The Persians also were treacherous guides, and conducted the ambassadors along circuitous and difficult ways.',20. Contiguous to the Busirite Nome are the Athribite Nome and the city Athribis; next the Prosopite Nome, in which latter is Aphroditopolis (the city of Venus). Above the Mendesian and the Tanitic mouths are a large lake, and the Mendesian and Leontopolite Nomes, and a city of Aphrodite (or Venus) and the Pharbetite Nome. Then follows the Tanitic, which some call the Saitic mouth, and the Tanite Nome, and in it Tanis a large city.,21. Between the Tanitic and the Pelusiac mouths are lakes and large and continuous marshes, among which are numerous villages. Pelusium itself has many marshes lying around it, which some call Barathra (or water holes), and swamps. It is situated at a distance of more than 20 stadia from the sea. The circumference of the wall is 20 stadia. It has its name from the mud (πηλοῦ) of the swamps. On this quarter Egypt is difficult of access, i. e. from the eastern side towards Phoenicia and Judaea, and on the side of Arabia Nabataea, which is contiguous; through which countries the road to Egypt lies.The country between the Nile and the Arabian Gulf is Arabia, and at its extremity is situated Pelusium. But the whole is desert, and not passable by an army. The isthmus between Pelusium and the recess of the Arabian Gulf near Heroopolis is 1000 stadia; but, according to Poseidonius, less than 1500 stadia in extent. Besides its being sandy and without water, it abounds with reptiles, which burrow in the sand.,22. In sailing up the river from Schedia to Memphis, on the right hand, are a great many villages extending as far as the lake Mareia, among which is that called the village of Chabrias. Upon the river is Hermopolis, then Gynaecopolis, and the Gynaecopolite Nome; next Momemphis and the Momemphite Nome. Between these places are many canals, which empty themselves into the lake Mareotis. The Momemphitae worship Venus, and a sacred cow is kept there, as Apis is maintained at Memphis, and Mneyis at Heliopolis. These animals are regarded as gods, but there are other places, and these are numerous, both in the Delta and beyond it, in which a bull or a cow is maintained, which are not regarded as gods, but only as sacred.,23. Above Momemphis are two nitre mines, which furnish nitre in large quantities, and the Nitriote Nome. Here Sarapis is worshipped, and they are the only people in Egypt who sacrifice a sheep. In this nome and near this place is a city called Menelaus. On the left hand in the Delta, upon the river, is Naucratis. At the distance of two schoeni from the river is Sais, and a little above it the asylum of Osiris, in which it is said Osiris is buried. This, however, is questioned by many persons, and particularly by the inhabitants of Philae, which is situated above Syene and Elephantine. These people tell this tale, that Isis placed coffins of Osiris in various places, but that one only contained the body of Osiris, so that no one knew which of them it was; and that she did this with the intention of concealing it from Typhon, who might come and cast the body out of its place of deposit.,24. This is the description of the country from Alexandreia to the vertex of the Delta.Artemidorus says, that the navigation up the river is 28 schoeni, which amount to 840 stadia, reckoning the schoenus at 30 stadia. When we ourselves sailed up the river, schoeni of different measures were used at different places in giving the distances, so that sometimes the received schoenus was a measure of 40 stadia and even more. That the measure of the schoenus was unsettled among the Egyptians, Artemidorus himself shows in a subsequent place. In reckoning the distance from Memphis to Thebais, he says that each schoenus consists of 120 stadia, and from the Thebais to Syene of 60 stadia. In sailing up from Pelusium to the same vertex of the Delta, is a distance, he says, of 25 schoeni, or 750 stadia, and he employs the same measure.On setting out from Pelusium, the first canal met with is that which fills the lakes, 'near the marshes,' as they are called. There are two of these lakes, situated upon the left hand of the great stream above Pelusium in Arabia. He mentions other lakes also, and canals in the same parts beyond the Delta.The Sethroite Nome extends along one of the two lakes. He reckons this as one of the ten nomes in the Delta. There are two other canals, which discharge themselves into the same lakes.,25. There is another canal also, which empties itself into the Red Sea, or Arabian Gulf, near the city Arsinoe, which some call Cleopatris. It flows through the Bitter Lakes, as they are called, which were bitter formerly, but when the above-mentioned canal was cut, the bitter quality was altered by their junction with the river, and at present they contain excellent fish, and abound with aquatic birds.The canal was first cut by Sesostris before the Trojan times, but according to other writers, by the son of Psammitichus, who only began the work, and afterwards died; lastly, Darius the First succeeded to the completion of the undertaking, but he desisted from continuing the work, when it was nearly finished, influenced by an erroneous opinion that the level of the Red Sea was higher than Egypt, and that if the whole of the intervening isthmus were cut through, the country would be overflowed by the sea. The Ptolemaic kings however did cut through it, and placed locks upon the canal, so that they sailed, when they pleased, without obstruction into the outer sea, and back again [into the canal].We have spoken of the surfaces of bodies of water in the first part of this work.,26. Near Arsinoe are situated in the recess of the Arabian Gulf towards Egypt, Heroopolis and Cleopatris; harbours, suburbs, many canals, and lakes are also near. There also is the Phagroriopolite Nome, and the city Phagroriopolis. The canal, which empties itself into the Red Sea, begins at the village Phakousa, to which the village of Philon is contiguous. The canal is 100 cubits broad, and its depth sufficient to float a vessel of large burden. These places are near the apex of the Delta.,27. There also are the city Bubastus and the Bubastite Nome, and above it the Heliopolite Nome. There too is Heliopolis, situated upon a large mound. It contains a temple of the sun, and the ox Mneyis, which is kept in a sanctuary, and is regarded by the inhabitants as a god, as Apis is regarded by the people of Memphis. In front of the mound are lakes, into which the neighbouring canal discharges itself. At present the city is entirely deserted. It has an ancient temple constructed after the Egyptian manner, bearing many proofs of the madness and sacrilegious acts of Cambyses, who did very great injury to the temples, partly by fire, partly by violence, mutilating [in some] cases, and applying fire [in others]. In this manner he injured the obelisks, two of which, that were not entirely spoilt, were transported to Rome. There are others both here and at Thebes, the present Diospolis, some of which are standing, much corroded by fire, and others lying on the ground.,28. The plan of the temples is as follows.At the entrance into the temenus is a paved floor, in breadth about a plethrum, or even less; its length is three or four times as great, and in some instances even more. This part is called Dromos, and is mentioned by Callimachus, this is the Dromos, sacred to Anubis. Throughout the whole length on each side are placed stone sphinxes, at the distance of 20 cubits or a little more from each other, so that there is one row of sphinxes on the right hand, and another on the left. Next after the sphinxes is a large propylon, then on proceeding further, another propylon, and then another. Neither the number of the propyla nor of the sphinxes is determined by any rule. They are different in different temples, as well as the length and breadth of the Dromi.Next to the propyla is the naos, which has a large and considerable pronaos; the sanctuary in proportion; there is no statue, at least not in human shape, but a representation of some of the brute animals. On each side of the pronaos project what are called the wings. These are two walls of equal height with the naos. At first the distance between them is a little more than the breadth of the foundation of the naos. As you proceed onwards, the [base] lines incline towards one another till they approach within 50 or 60 cubits. These walls have large sculptured figures, very much like the Tyrrhenian (Etruscan) and very ancient works among the Greeks.There is also a building with a great number of pillars, as at Memphis, in the barbaric style; for, except the magnitude and number and rows of pillars, there is nothing pleasing nor easily described, but rather a display of labour wasted.,29. At Heliopolis we saw large buildings in which the priests lived. For it is said that anciently this was the principal residence of the priests, who studied philosophy and astronomy. But there are no longer either such a body of persons or such pursuits. No one was pointed out to us on the spot, as presiding over these studies, but only persons who performed sacred rites, and who explained to strangers [the peculiarities of] the temples.A person of the name of Chaeremon accompanied the governor, Aelius Gallus, in his journey from Alexandreia into Egypt, and pretended to some knowledge of this kind, but he was generally ridiculed for his boasting and ignorance. The houses of the priests, and the residences of Plato and of Eudoxus, were shown to us. Eudoxus came here with Plato, and, according to some writers, lived thirteen years in the society of the priests. For the latter were distinguished for their knowledge of the heavenly bodies, but were mysterious and uncommunicative, yet after a time were prevailed upon by courtesy to acquaint them with some of the principles of their science, but the barbarians concealed the greater part of them. They had, however, communicated the knowledge of the additional portions of the day and night, in the space of 365 days, necessary to complete the annual period; and, at that time, the length of the year was unknown to the Greeks, as were many other things, until later astronomers received them from the persons who translated the records of the priests into the Greek language, and even now derive knowledge from their writings and from those of the Chaldeans.,30. After Heliopolis is the 'Nile above the Delta.' The country on the right hand, as you go up the Nile, is called Libya, as well as that near Alexandreia and the lake Mareotis; the country on the left hand is called Arabia. The territory belonging to Heliopolis is in Arabia, but the city Cercesura is in Libya, and situated opposite to the observatory of Eudoxus. For there is shown an observing station in front of Heliopolis, as there is in front of Cnidus, where Eudoxus marked certain motions of the heavenly bodies. This is the Letopolite Nome.In sailing up the river we meet with Babylon, a strong fortress, built by some Babylonians who had taken refuge there, and had obtained permission from the kings to establish a settlement in that place. At present it is an encampment for one of the three legions which garrison Egypt. There is a mountainous ridge, which extends from the encampment as far as the Nile. At this ridge are wheels and screws, by which water is raised from the river, and one hundred and fifty prisoners are [thus] employed.The pyramids on the other side [of the river] at Memphis may be clearly discerned from this place, for they are not far off.,31. Memphis itself also, the residence of the kings of Egypt, is near, being only three schoeni distant from the Delta. It contains temples, among which is that of Apis, who is the same as Osiris. Here the ox Apis is kept in a sort of sanctuary, and is held, as I have said, to be a god. The forehead and some other small parts of its body are white; the other parts are black. By these marks the fitness of the successor is always determined, when the animal to which they pay these honours dies. In front of the sanctuary is a court, in which there is another sanctuary for the dam of Apis. . Into this court the Apis is let loose at times, particularly for the purpose of exhibiting him to strangers. He is seen through a door in the sanctuary, and he is permitted to be seen also out of it. After he has frisked about a little in the court, he is taken back to his own stall.The temple of Apis is near the Hephaesteium (or temple of Vulcan); the Hephaesteium itself is very sumptuously constructed, both as regards the size of the naos and in other respects. In front of the Dromos is a colossal figure consisting of a single stone. It is usual to celebrate bull-fights in this Dromos; the bulls are bred expressly for this purpose, like horses. They are let loose, and fight with one another, the conqueror receiving a prize.At Memphis also there is a temple of Venus, who is accounted a Grecian deity. But some say that it is a temple dedicated to Selene, or the moon.,32. There is also a temple of Sarapis, situated in a very sandy spot, where the sand is accumulated in masses by the wind. Some of the sphinxes which we saw were buried in this sand up to the head, and one half only of others was visible. Hence we may conceive the danger, should any one, in his way to the temple, be surprised by a [sand] storm.The city is large and populous; it ranks next to Alexandreia, and, like that place, is inhabited by mixed races of people. There are lakes in front of the city and of the palaces, which at present are in ruins and deserted. They are situated upon an eminence, and extend as far as the lower part of the city.Close to this place are a grove and a lake.,33. At the distance of 40 stadia from Memphis is a brow of a hill, on which are many pyramids, the tombs of the kings. Three of them are considerable. Two of these are reckoned among the seven wonders [of the world]. They are a stadium in height, and of a quadrangular shape. Their height somewhat exceeds the length of each of the sides. One pyramid is a little larger than the other. At a moderate height in one of the sides is a stone, which may be taken out; when that is removed, there is an oblique passage [leading] to the tomb. They are near each other, and upon the same level. Farther on, at a greater height of the mountain, is the third pyramid, which is much less than the two others, but constructed at much greater expense; for from the foundation nearly as far as the middle, it is built of black stone. Mortars are made of this stone, which is brought from a great distance; for it comes from the mountains of Ethiopia, and being hard and difficult to be worked, the labour is attended with great expense. It is said to be the tomb of a courtesan, built by her lovers, and whose name, according to Sappho the poetess, was Doriche. She was the mistress of her brother Charaxus, who traded to the port of Naucratis with wine of Lesbos. Others call her Rhodopis. A story is told of her, that, when she was bathing, an eagle snatched one of her sandals from the hands of her female attendant and carried it to Memphis; the eagle soaring over the head of the king, who was administering justice at the time, let the sandal fall into his lap. The king, struck with the shape of the sandal, and the singularity of the accident, sent over the country to discover the woman to whom it belonged. She was found in the city of Naucratis, and brought to the king, who made her his wife. At her death she was honoured with the above-mentioned tomb.,34. One extraordinary thing which I saw at the pyramids must not be omitted. Heaps of stones from the quarries lie in front of the pyramids. Among these are found pieces which in shape and size resemble lentils. Some contain substances like grains half peeled. These, it is said, are the remts of the workmen's food converted into stone; which is not probable. For at home in our country (Amasia), there is a long hill in a plain, which abounds with pebbles of a porus stone, resembling lentils. The pebbles of the sea-shore and of rivers suggest somewhat of the same difficulty [respecting their origin]; some explanation may indeed be found in the motion [to which these are subject] in flowing waters, but the investigation of the above fact presents more difficulty. I have said elsewhere, that in sight of the pyramids, on the other side in Arabia, and near the stone quarries from which they are built, is a very rocky mountain, called the Trojan mountain; beneath it there are caves, and near the caves and the river a village called Troy, an ancient settlement of the captive Trojans who had accompanied Menelaus and settled there.,35. Next to Memphis is the city Acanthus, situated also in Libya, and the temple of Osiris, and the grove of the Thebaic acantha, from which gum is procured. Next is the Aphroditopolite Nome, and the city in Arabia of the same name, where is kept a white cow, considered sacred. Then follows the Heracleote Nome, in a large island, near which is the canal on the right hand, which leads into Libya, in the direction of the Arsinoite Nome; so that the canal has two entrances, a part of the island on one side being interposed between them. This nome is the most considerable of all in appearance, natural properties, and embellishment. It is the only nome planted with large, full-grown olive trees, which bear fine fruit. If the produce were carefully collected, good oil might be obtained; but this care is neglected, and although a large quantity of oil is obtained, yet it has a disagreeable smell. (The rest of Egypt is without the olive tree, except the gardens near Alexandreia, which are planted with olive trees, but do not furnish any oil.) It produces wine in abundance, corn, pulse, and a great variety of other grains. It has also the remarkable lake Moeris, which in extent is a sea, and the colour of its waters resembles that of the sea. Its borders also are like the sea-shore, so that we may make the same suppositions respecting these as about the country near Ammon. For they are not very far distant from one another and from Paraetonium; and we may conjecture from a multitude of proofs, that as the temple of Ammon was once situated upon the sea, so this tract of country also bordered on the sea at some former period. But Lower Egypt and the country as far as the Lake Sirbonis were sea, and confluent perhaps with the Red Sea at Heroopolis, and the Aelanitic recess of the gulf.,36. We have treated these subjects at length in the First Book of the Geography. At present we shall make a few remarks on the operations of nature and of Providence conjointly. On the operations of nature, that all things converge to a point, namely, the centre of the whole, and assume a spherical shape around it. The earth is the densest body, and nearer the centre than all others: the less dense and next to it is water; but both land and water are spheres, the first solid, the second hollow, containing the earth within it.— On the operations of Providence, that it has exercised a will, is disposed to variety, and is the artificer of innumerable works. In the first rank, as greatly surpassing all the rest, is the generation of animals, of which the most excellent are gods and men, for whose sake the rest were formed. To the gods Providence assigned heaven; and the earth to men, the extreme parts of the world; for the extreme parts of the sphere are the centre and the circumference. But since water encompasses the earth, and man is not an aquatic, but a land-animal, living in the air, and requiring much light, Providence formed many eminences and cavities in the earth, so that these cavities should receive the whole or a great part of the water which covers the land beneath it; and that the eminences should rise and conceal the water beneath them, except so much as was necessary for the use of the human race, the animals and plants about it.But as all things are in constant motion, and undergo great changes, (for it is not possible that things of such a nature, so numerous and vast, could be otherwise regulated in the world,) we must not suppose the earth or the water always to continue in this state, so as to retain perpetually the same bulk, without increase or diminution, or that each preserves the same fixed place, particularly as the reciprocal change of one into the other is most consot to nature from their proximity; but that much of the land is changed into water, and a great portion of water becomes land, just as we observe great differences in the earth itself. For one kind of earth crumbles easily, another is solid and rocky, and contains iron; and so of others. There is also a variety in the quality of water; for some waters are saline, others sweet and potable, others medicinal, and either salutary or noxious, others cold or hot Is it therefore surprising that some parts of the earth which are now inhabited should formerly have been occupied by sea, and that what are now seas should formerly have been inhabited land ? so also fountains once existing have failed, and others have burst forth; and similarly in the case of rivers and lakes: again, mountains and plains have been converted reciprocally one into the other. On this subject I have spoken before at length, and now let this be said:,37. The lake Moeris, by its magnitude and depth, is able to sustain the superabundance of water which flows into it at the time of the rise of the river, without overflowing the inhabited and cultivated parts of the country. On the decrease of the water of the river, it distributes the excess by the same canal at each of the mouths; and both the lake and the canal preserve a remainder, which is used for irrigation. These are the natural and independent properties of the lake, but in addition, on both mouths of the canal are placed locks, by which the engineers store up and distribute the water which enters or issues from the canal.We have here also the Labyrinth, a work equal to the Pyramids, and adjoining to it the tomb of the king who constructed the Labyrinth. After proceeding beyond the first entrance of the canal about 30 or 40 stadia, there is a table-shaped plain, with a village and a large palace composed of as many palaces as there were formerly nomes. There are an equal number of aulae, surrounded by pillars, and contiguous to one another, all in one line and forming one building, like a long wall having the aulae in front of it. The entrances into the aulae are opposite to the wall. In front of the entrances there are long and numerous covered ways, with winding passages communicating with each other, so that no stranger could find his way into the aulae or out of them without a guide. The (most) surprising circumstance is that the roofs of these dwellings consist of a single stone each, and that the covered ways through their whole range were roofed in the same manner with single slabs of stone of extraordinary size, without the intermixture of timber or of any other material. On ascending the roof,— which is not of great height for it consists only of a single story,— there may be seen a stone-field, thus composed of stones. Descending again and looking into the aulae, these may be seen in a line supported by twenty-seven pillars, each consisting of a single stone. The walls also are constructed of stones not inferior in size to these.At the end of this building, which occupies more than a stadium, is the tomb, which is a quadrangular pyramid, each side of which is about four plethra in length, and of equal height. The name of the person buried there is Imandes. They built, it is said, this number of aulae, because it was the custom for all the nomes to assemble there together according to their rank, with their own priests and priestesses, for the purpose of performing sacrifices and making offerings to the gods, and of administering justice in matters of great importance. Each of the nomes was conducted to the aula appointed for it.,38. Sailing along to the distance of 100 stadia, we come to the city Arsinoe, formerly called Crocodilopolis; for the inhabitants of this nome worship the crocodile. The animal is accounted sacred, and kept apart by himself in a lake; it is tame, and gentle to the priests, and is called Suchus. It is fed with bread, flesh, and wine, which strangers who come to see it always present. Our host, a distinguished person, who was our guide in examining what was curious, accompanied us to the lake, and brought from the supper table a small cake, dressed meat, and a small vessel containing a mixture of honey and milk. We found the animal lying on the edge of the lake. The priests went up to it; some of them opened its mouth, another put the cake into it, then the meat, and afterwards poured down the honey and milk. The animal then leaped into the lake, and crossed to the other side. When another stranger arrived with his offering, the priests took it, and running round the lake, caught the crocodile, and gave him what was brought, in the same manner as before.,39. Next after the Arsinoite and Heracleotic Nomes, is the city of Hercules, in which the ichneumon is worshipped, in opposition to the Arsinoites, who worship crocodiles; hence the canal and the lake Moeris is full of these animals, for they venerate them, and are careful to do them no harm: but the Heracleotae worship the ichneumon, which is most destructive both to crocodiles and asps. The ichneumons destroy not only the eggs of the latter, but the animals themselves. The ichneumons are protected by a covering of mud, in which they roll, and then dry themselves in the sun. They then seize the asps by the head or tail, and dragging them into the river, so kill them.They lie in wait for the crocodiles, when the latter are basking in the sun with their mouths open; they then drop into their jaws, and eating through their intestines and belly, issue out of the dead body.,40. Next follows the Cynopolite Nome and Cynopolis, where they worship the dog Anubis, and pay certain honours to dogs; a subsistence is there provided for them, as sacred animals.On the other side of the river is the city Oxyrynchus, and a nome of the same name. They worship the oxyrynchus, and have a temple dedicated to this animal; but all the other Egyptians worship the oxyrynchus. For all the Egyptians worship in common certain animals; three among the land animals, the ox, the dog, and the cat; two among the winged tribe, the hawk and the ibis; and two of the aquatic animals, the fish lepidotus and the oxyrynchus. There are also other animals which each people, independently of others, worship; as the Saitae and Thebaitae, a sheep; the Latopolitae, the latus, a fish inhabiting the Nile; the people of Lycopolis, a wolf; those of Hermopolis, the cynocephalus; those of Babylon, near Memphis, a cephus, which has the countece of a satyr, and in other respects is between a dog and a bear; it is bred in Ethiopia. The inhabitants of Thebes worship an eagle; the Leontopolitae, a lion; the Mendesians, a male and female goat; the Athribitae, a shrewmouse; different people worshipping different animals. They do not, however, assign the same reasons for this difference of worship.,41. Then follows the Hermopolite Castle, a place where is collected the toll on merchandise brought down from the Thebais. At this place begins the reckoning by schoeni of sixty stadia each, which is continued to Syene and Elephantine. Next is the Thebaic Keep, and a canal leading to Tanis. Then follow Lycopolis, Aphroditopolis, and Panopolis, an old settlement belonging to masons and weavers of linen.,42. Then follows Ptolemais, the largest city in the Thebais, not inferior to Memphis, with a form of government after the Grecian mode. Above this city is Abydos, where is the palace of Memnon, constructed in a singular manner, entirely of stone, and after the plan of the Labyrinth, which we have described, but not composed of many parts. It has a fountain situated at a great depth. There is a descent to it through an arched passage built with single stones, of remarkable size and workmanship.There is a canal which leads to this place from the great river. About the canal is a grove of Egyptian acanthus, dedicated to Apollo. Abydos seems once to have been a large city, second to Thebes. At present it is a small town. But if, as they say, Memnon is called Ismandes by the Egyptians, the Labyrinth might be a Memnonium, and the work of the same person who constructed those at Abydos and at Thebes; for in those places, it is said, are some Memnonia. In the latitude of Abydos is the first Auasis (Oasis) of the three which are said to be in Africa. It is distant from Abydos a journey of seven days through a desert. It is an inhabited place, well supplied with good water and wine, and sufficiently provided with other articles. The second is that near the lake Moeris. The third is that at the oracle of Ammon: these are considerable settlements.,43. Having before spoken at length of the temple of Ammon, we wish to add this only, that in ancient times divination in general and oracles were held in greater esteem than at present. Now they are greatly neglected ; for the Romans are satisfied with the oracles of the Sibyl, and with Tyrrhenian divination by the entrails of animals, the flight of birds, and portentous appearances. Hence the oracle of Ammon, which was formerly held in great esteem, is now nearly deserted. This appears chiefly from the historians who have recorded the actions of Alexander, adding, indeed, much that has the appearance of flattery, but yet relating what is worthy of credit. Callisthenes, for instance, says that Alexander was ambitious of the glory of visiting the oracle, because he knew that Perseus and Hercules had before performed the journey thither. He set out from Paraetonium, although the south winds were blowing, and succeeded in his undertaking by vigour and perseverance. When out of his way on the road, he escaped being overwhelmed in a sand-storm by a fall of rain, and by the guidance of two crows, which directed his course. These things are stated by way of flattery, as also what follows: that the priest permitted the king alone to pass into the temple in his usual dress, whereas the others changed theirs; that all heard the oracles on the outside of the temple, except Alexander, who was in the interior of the building; that the answers were not given, as at Delphi and at Branchidae, in words, but chiefly by nods and signs, as in Homer; the son of Saturn nodded with his sable brows, the prophet imitating Jupiter. This, however, the man told the king, in express terms, that he was the son of Jupiter. Callisthenes adds, (after the exaggerating style of tragedy,) that when Apollo had deserted the oracle among the Branchidae, on the temple being plundered by the Branchidae (who espoused the party of the Persians in the time of Xerxes,) and the spring had failed, it then re-appeared (on the arrival of Alexander); that the ambassadors also of the Milesians carried back to Memphis numerous answers of the oracle respecting the descent of Alexander from Jupiter, and the future victory which he should obtain at Arbela, the death of Darius, and the political changes at Lacedaemon. He says also that the Erythraean Athenais, who resembled the ancient Erythraean Sibyl, had declared the high descent of Alexander. Such are the accounts of historians.,44. At Abydos Osiris is worshipped; but in the temple of Osiris no singer, nor player on the pipe, nor on the cithara, is permitted to perform at the commencement of the ceremonies celebrated in honour of the god, as is usual in rites celebrated in honour of the other gods. Next to Abydos is the lesser Diospolis, then the city Tentyra, where the crocodile is held in peculiar abhorrence, and is regarded as the most odious of all animals. For the other Egyptians, although acquainted with its mischievous disposition, and hostility towards the human race, yet worship it, and abstain from doing it harm. But the people of Tentyra track and destroy it in every way. Some however, as they say of the Psyllians of Cyrenaea, possess a certain natural antipathy to snakes, and the people of Tentyra have the same dislike to crocodiles, yet they suffer no injury from them, but dive and cross the river when no other person ventures to do so. When crocodiles were brought to Rome to be exhibited, they were attended by some of the Tentyritae. A reservoir was made for them with a sort of stage on one of the sides, to form a basking-place for them on coming out of the water, and these persons went into the water, drew them in a net to the place, where they might sun themselves and be exhibited, and then dragged them back again to the reservoir. The people of Tentyra worship Venus. At the back of the fane of Venus is a temple of Isis ; then follow what are called the Typhoneia, and the canal leading to Coptos, a city common both to the Egyptians and Arabians.,45. Then follows the isthmus, extending to the Red Sea near Berenice, which has no harbour, but good landing-places, because the isthmus is conveniently situated. Philadelphus is said to be the first person that opened, by means of his army, this road, which had no supply of water, and to have provided stations. This he did because the navigation of the Red Sea was difficult, particularly to those who set out from the recess of the bay. Experience showed the great utility of this plan, and at present all the Indian, Arabian, and such Ethiopian merchandise as is imported by the Arabian Gulf is carried to Coptos, which is the mart for such commodities. Not far from Berenice is Myos Hormus, a city with a naval station for vessels which navigate this sea; at no great distance from Coptos is the city of Apollo, so that two cities are the boundaries of the isthmus, one on each side. But at present Coptos and Myos Hormus are in repute, and they are frequented.Formerly, the camel-merchants travelled in the night, directing their course by observing the stars, and, like mariners, carried with them a supply of water. But now watering-places are provided: water is also obtained by digging to a great depth, and rain-water is found, although rain rarely falls, which is also collected in reservoirs. It is a journey of six or seven days.On this isthmus are mines, in which the emeralds and other precious stones are found by the Arabians, who dig deep subterraneous passages.,46. Next to the city of Apollo is Thebes, now called Diospolis, with her hundred gates, through each of which issue two hundred men, with horses and chariots, according to Homer, who mentions also its wealth; not all the wealth the palaces of Egyptian Thebes contain.Other writers use the same language, and consider Thebes as the metropolis of Egypt. Vestiges of its magnitude still exist, which extend 80 stadia in length. There are a great number of temples, many of which Cambyses mutilated. The spot is at present occupied by villages. One part of it, in which is the city, lies in Arabia; another is in the country on the other side of the river, where is the Memnonium. Here are two colossal figures near one another, each consisting of a single stone. One is entire; the upper parts of the other, from the chair, are fallen down, the effect, it is said, of an earthquake. It is believed, that once a day a noise as of a slight blow issues from the part of the statue which remains in the seat and on its base. When I was at those places with Aelius Gallus, and numerous friends and soldiers about him, I heard a noise at the first hour (of the day), but whether proceeding from the base or from the colossus, or produced on purpose by some of those standing around the base, I cannot confidently assert. For from the uncertainty of the cause, I am disposed to believe anything rather than that stones disposed in that manner could send forth sound.Above the Memnonium are tombs of kings in caves, and hewn out of the stone, about forty in number; they are executed with singular skill, and are worthy of notice. Among the tombs are obelisks with inscriptions, denoting the wealth of the kings of that time, and the extent of their empire, as reaching to the Scythians, Bactrians, Indians, and the present Ionia; the amount of tribute also, and the number of soldiers, which composed an army of about a million of men.The priests there are said to be, for the most part, astronomers and philosophers. The former compute the days, not by the moon, but by the sun, introducing into the twelve months of thirty days each five days every year. But in order to complete the whole year, because there is (annually) an excess of a part of a day, they form a period from out of whole days and whole years, the supernumerary portions of which in that period, when collected together, amount to a day. They ascribe to Mercury all knowledge of this kind. To Jupiter, whom they worship above all other deities, a virgin of the greatest beauty and of the most illustrious family (such persons the Greeks call pallades) is dedicated. She prostitutes herself with whom she pleases, until the time occurs for the natural purification of the body; she is afterwards married; but before her marriage, and after the period of prostitution, they mourn for her as for one dead.,47. Next after Thebes is the city Hermonthis, in which both Apollo and Jupiter are worshipped. They also keep an ox there (for worship).Next is the city of Crocodiles, the inhabitants of which worship this animal; then Aphroditopolis, and next to it, Latopolis, where Minerva is worshipped, and the (fish) Latus; next, the Eileithyias polis, and a temple. In the country on the other side of the river is Hieraconpolis (the city of hawks), where a hawk is worshipped; then Apollonopolis, the inhabitants of which are at war with crocodiles.,48. Syene is a city situated on the borders of Ethiopia and Egypt. Elephantine is an island in the Nile, at the distance of half a stadium in front of Syene; in this island is a city with a temple of Cnuphis, and a nilometer like that at Memphis. The nilometer is a well upon the banks of the Nile, constructed of close-fitting stones, on which are marked the greatest, least, and mean risings of the Nile; for the water in the well and in the river rises and subsides simultaneously. Upon the wall of the well are lines, which indicate the complete rise of the river, and other degrees of its rising. Those who examine these marks communicate the result to the public for their information. For it is known long before, by these marks, and by the time elapsed from the commencement, what the future rise of the river will be, and notice is given of it. This information is of service to the husbandmen with reference to the distribution of the water; for the purpose also of attending to the embankments, canals, and other things of this kind. It is of use also to the governors, who fix the revenue; for the greater the rise of the river, the greater it is expected will be the revenue.At Syene there is a well which indicates the summer solstice, because these places lie under the tropical circle, [and occasions the gnomons to cast no shadows at midday]. For on proceeding from the places in our country, in Greece I mean, towards the south, the sun is there first over our head, and occasions the gnomons to be without shadows at noon. When the sun is vertical to us, it must necessarily cast its rays down wells, however deep they may be, to the water. For we ourselves stand in a perpendicular position, and wells are dug perpendicular to the surface.Here are stationed three Roman cohorts as a guard.,49. A little above Elephantine is the lesser cataract, where the boatmen exhibit a sort of spectacle to the governors.The cataract is in the middle of the river, and is formed by a ridge of rock, the upper part [or commencement] of which is level, and thus capable of receiving the river, but terminating in a precipice, where the water dashes down. On each side towards the land there is a stream, up which is the chief ascent for vessels. The boatmen sail up by this stream, and, dropping down to the cataract, are impelled with the boat to the precipice, the crew and the boats escaping unhurt.A little above the cataract is Philae, a common settlement, like Elephantine, of Ethiopians and Egyptians, and equal in size, containing Egyptian temples, where a bird, which they call hierax, (the hawk,) is worshipped; but it did not appear to me to resemble in the least the hawks of our country nor of Egypt, for it was larger, and very different in the marks of its plumage. They said that the bird was Ethiopian, and is brought from Ethiopia when its predecessor dies, or before its death. The one shown to us when we were there was sick and nearly dead.,50. We came from Syene to Philae in a waggon, through a very flat country, a distance of about 100 stadia. Along the whole road on each side we could see, in many places, very high rocks, round, very smooth, and nearly spherical, of black hard stone, of which mortars are made: each rested upon a greater stone, and upon this another: they were like hermaea. Sometimes these stones consisted of one mass. The largest was not less than twelve feet in diameter, and all of them exceeded this size by one half. We crossed over to the island in a pacton, which is a small boat made of rods, whence it resembles woven-work. Standing then in the water, (at the bottom of the boat,) or sitting upon some little planks, we easily crossed over, with some alarm indeed, but without good cause for it, as there is no danger if the boat is not overloaded.,51. Throughout the whole of Egypt, the palm tree is of a bad species, and produces no good edible fruit in the places about the Delta and Alexandreia; yet the best kind is found in the Thebais. It is a subject of surprise how countries in the same latitude as Judaea, and bordering upon the Delta and Alexandreia, should be so different; for Judaea, in addition to other kinds of date-palms, produces the caryotic, which is not inferior to the Babylonian. There are, however, two kinds of dates in the Thebais and in Judaea, the caryotic and another. The Thebaic is firmer, but the flavour is more agreeable. There is an island remarkable for producing the best dates, and it also furnishes the largest revenue to the governors. It was appropriated to the kings, and no private person had any share in the produce; at present it belongs to the governors.,52. Herodotus and other writers trifle very much when they introduce into their histories the marvellous, like (an interlude of) music and song, or some melody; for example, in asserting that the sources of the Nile are near the numerous islands, at Syene and Elephantine, and that at this spot the river has an unfathomable depth. In the Nile there are many islands scattered about, some of which are entirely covered, others in part only, at the time of the rise of the waters. The very elevated parts are irrigated by means of screw-pumps.,53. Egypt was from the first disposed to peace, from having resources within itself, and because it was difficult of access to strangers. It was also protected on the north by a harbourless coast and the Egyptian Sea; on the east and west by the desert mountains of Libya and Arabia, as I have said before. The remaining parts towards the south are occupied by Troglodytae, Blemmyes, Nubae, and Megabari, Ethiopians above Syene. These are nomads, and not numerous nor warlike, but accounted so by the ancients, because frequently, like robbers, they attacked defenceless persons. Neither are the Ethiopians, who extend towards the south and Meroe, numerous nor collected in a body; for they inhabit a long, narrow, and winding tract of land on the riverside, such as we have before described; nor are they well prepared either for war or the pursuit of any other mode of life.At present the whole country is in the same pacific state, a proof of which is, that the upper country is sufficiently guarded by three cohorts, and these not complete. Whenever the Ethiopians have ventured to attack them, it has been at the risk of danger to their own country. The rest of the forces in Egypt are neither very numerous, nor did the Romans ever once employ them collected into one army. For neither are the Egyptians themselves of a warlike disposition, nor the surrounding nations, although their numbers are very large.Cornelius Gallus, the first governor of the country appointed by (Augustus) Caesar, attacked the city Heroopolis, which had revolted, and took it with a small body of men. He suppressed also in a short time an insurrection in the Thebais, which originated as to the payment of tribute. At a later period Petronius resisted, with the soldiers about his person, a mob of myriads of Alexandrines, who attacked him by throwing stones. He killed some, and compelled the rest to desist.We have before related how Aelius Gallus, when he invaded Arabia with a part of the army stationed in Egypt, exhibited a proof of the unwarlike disposition of the people; and if Syllaeus had not betrayed him, he would have conquered the whole of Arabia Felix.,54. The Ethiopians, emboldened in consequence of a part of the forces in Egypt being drawn off by Aelius Gallus, who was engaged in war with the Arabs, invaded the Thebais, and attacked the garrison, consisting of three cohorts, near Syene; surprised and took Syene, Elephantine, and Philae, by a sudden inroad; enslaved the inhabitants, and threw down the statues of Caesar. But Petronius, marching with less than 10,000 infantry and 800 horse against an army of 30,000 men, first compelled them to retreat to Pselchis, an Ethiopian city. He then sent deputies to demand restitution of what they had taken, and the reasons which had induced them to begin the war. On their alleging that they had been ill treated by the nomarchs, he answered, that these were not the sovereigns of the country, but Caesar. When they desired three days for consideration, and did nothing which they were bound to do, Petronius attacked and compelled them to fight. They soon fled, being badly commanded, and badly armed; for they carried large shields made of raw hides, and hatchets for offensive weapons; some, however, had pikes, and others swords. Part of the insurgents were driven into the city, others fled into the uninhabited country; and such as ventured upon the passage of the river escaped to a neighbouring island, where there were not many crocodiles on account of the current. Among the fugitives, were the generals of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians in our time, a masculine woman, and who had lost an eye. Petronius, pursuing them in rafts and ships, took them all and despatched them immediately to Alexandreia. He then attacked Pselchis and took it. If we add the number of those who fell in battle to the number of prisoners, few only could have escaped.From Pselchis Petronius went to Premnis, a strong city, travelling over the hills of sand, beneath which the army of Cambyses was overwhelmed by the setting in of a whirlwind. He took the fortress at the first onset, and afterwards advanced to Napata. This was the royal seat of Candace ; and her son was there, but she herself was in a neighbouring stronghold. When she sent ambassadors to treat of peace, and to offer the restitution of the prisoners brought from Syene, and the statues, Petronius attacked and took Napata, from which her son had fled, and then razed it. He made prisoners of the inhabitants, and returned back again with the booty, as he judged any farther advance into the country impracticable on account of the roads. He strengthened, however, the fortifications of Premnis, and having placed a garrison there, with two years' provisions for four hundred men, returned to Alexandreia. Some of the prisoners were publicly sold as booty, and a thousand were sent to Caesar, who had lately returned from the Cantabrians, others died of various diseases.In the mean time Candace attacked the garrison with an army of many thousand men. Petronius came to its assistance, and entering the fortress before the approach of the enemy, secured the place by many expedients. The enemy sent ambassadors, but he ordered them to repair to Caesar: on their replying, that they did not know who Caesar was, nor where they were to find him, Petronius appointed persons to conduct them to his presence. They arrived at Samos, where Caesar was at that time, and from whence he was on the point of proceeding into Syria, having already despatched Tiberius into Armenia. The ambassadors obtained all that they desired, and Caesar even remitted the tribute which he had imposed.
10. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 2.294-2.299 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2.294. For the Egyptian river ran with bloody water at the command of God, insomuch that it could not be drunk, and they had no other spring of water neither; for the water was not only of the color of blood, but it brought upon those that ventured to drink of it, great pains and bitter torment. 2.295. Such was the river to the Egyptians; but it was sweet and fit for drinking to the Hebrews, and no way different from what it naturally used to be. As the king therefore knew not what to do in these surprising circumstances, and was in fear for the Egyptians, he gave the Hebrews leave to go away; but when the plague ceased, he changed his mind again, end would not suffer them to go. 2.296. 2. But when God saw that he was ungrateful, and upon the ceasing of this calamity would not grow wiser, he sent another plague upon the Egyptians:—An innumerable multitude of frogs consumed the fruit of the ground; the river was also full of them, insomuch that those who drew water had it spoiled by the blood of these animals, as they died in, and were destroyed by, the water; 2.297. and the country was full of filthy slime, as they were born, and as they died: they also spoiled their vessels in their houses which they used, and were found among what they eat and what they drank, and came in great numbers upon their beds. There was also an ungrateful smell, and a stink arose from them, as they were born, and as they died therein. 2.298. Now, when the Egyptians were under the oppression of these miseries, the king ordered Moses to take the Hebrews with him, and be gone. Upon which the whole multitude of the frogs vanished away; and both the land and the river returned to their former natures. 2.299. But as soon as Pharaoh saw the land freed from this plague, he forgot the cause of it, and retained the Hebrews; and, as though he had a mind to try the nature of more such judgments, he would not yet suffer Moses and his people to depart, having granted that liberty rather out of fear than out of any good consideration.
11. Papyri, Bgu, 2.423



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
aristobulus Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 29
cosmos Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 29
deity, deities Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 29
ethiopia Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 206
euphrates Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 206
exodus Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 206
gennesar, lake Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 206
god of Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 29
heavenly bodies' Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 29
josephus, on the nile Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 206
nile, river, delta Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 206
nile, river Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 206
philo of alexandria, on cult statues Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 29
philo of alexandria, on heavenly bodies Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 29
philo of alexandria Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 29; Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 206
plague, in exodus from egypt (exodus) Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 206
sodom and gomorrah Gunderson, The Social Worlds of Ancient Jews and Christians: Essays in Honor of L. Michael White (2022) 29
wisdom of solomon Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 206