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to other objects. But before we undertake this inquiry it will be proper to speak of Egypt
in general, as from the figure and extent of " the whole, the situation of the parts may
be better defined.
The whole extent of this country in length, from Philæ and the cataracts downwards, has been esteemed to have been between five and six hundred miles. It consisted of three principal divisions, the Thebais, Heptanomis, and Delta ; and these were subdivided into smaller provinces, called by the Greeks ' nomes, of which Strabo gives the following account. Δεκα μεν η Θηβαϊς δεκα δ' ή εν τω Δελτα, εκκαιδεκα δ' ή μεταξυ. 1. 17. p. 1135.
From hence we learn, that there were ten in the Thebaïs, ten also in that portion called Delta, and sixteen in the intermediate region; which was stiled Heptanomis. Herodotus tells us that the country was narrow, as it extended from the confines of Ethiopia downward, till it came to the point of Lower Egypt, where stood a
It is not certain who the person was who divided the country into provinces called nomes. Some attribute the division to Sesostris. Την δε χωραν άπασαν εις εξ και τριακοντά pleen διελων (ο Σεσωσεις,) και καλεσιν Αιγυπτιοι Νομος, επεσησεν άπασαις Totuexes. Diodorus, l. 1. p. 50.
place called ' Cercasorum, by Strabo Cercesura. All the way to this place the river Nile ran for the most part in one channel, and the region was bounded on one side with the mountains of Libya; and on the other, which was to the east, with the mountains of Arabia. As the latter consisted of one prolonged ridge, Herodotus speaks of them in the singular as one mountain, and says that it reached no farther than Lower Egypt, and the first division of the Nile, which was nearly opposite to the pyramids. Here the river was severed into two additional streams, the Pelusiac and the Canobic, which bounded Lower Egypt, called Delta, to the east and to the west ; while the original stream, called the Sebennytic, pursued its course downward, and, after having sent out some other branches, at last entered the sea.
Great uncertainty has ensued in the geography of Egypt, from its lying in the confines of Libya on one side, and of Asia on the other. On which account it has been at different times referred to both, and sometimes to neither. We must therefore always consider in what acceptation it is taken by the au
'L. 2. c. 8. p. 106.-C. 17. p. 111.
thor to whom we appeal ; otherwise we shall be led into great mistakes. Herodotus takes notice that the lönians and some other Greeks. made the land of Egypt neutral, in respect to the two great continents on each side. But his opinion was, that the Nile was the true boundary, as long as it ran down single ; and, when it separated at Cercesura, then the central or Sebennytic branch, which divided the lower region, was the true limit. On this account he blames the Ionians and Grecians above mentioned, who say, that there are in the earth three continents ; whereas they should insist upon four, if Egypt, and especially the Delta, were a neutral and independent portion. Oυρισμα δε Ασιη και Λιβυη οιδαμεν ουδεν εoν ορθω λογω, ει μη της Αιγυπτιων ερες. But, says the historian, if we make a just estimate, we shall find no other boundaries to Libya and Asia, than those which are formed by Egypt. Τα μεν γαρ αυτης (Αιγυπτε) ειναι της Λιβύης, τα de ons Aoins. . For one part belonged to Libya, and the other to Asia. Strabo follows the same opinion, and makes the great Sebennytic stream the limit of the two continents. He accordingly tells us, that going up through the centre of the lower region, we have' Libya
' L. 2. c. 17. p. 111.
on one hand and Arabia on the other. And when he is giving a description of the upper part of the river near the apex of Delta, where was the nome of Heliopolis to the east, and the Arabian nome and Cercasora to the west, he says, η μεν ουν Ηλιοπολιτις εν τη Αραβια εσιν, εν δε τη Λιβυη Κερκεσουρα πολις, κατα τας Ευδοξε κείμενη σκοπας.
On this account the Heliopolitan nome is to be referred to Arabia; and Cercesura, which is opposite to the observatories of Eudoxus, must be looked upon in Libya. I make use of the words---to be referred to, because no part of Lower Egypt was really in Arabia ; however ascribed to it by Strabo, for the sake of including it within one continent or the other. On this account he had better have followed Herodotus, and made it at large a portion of Asia; which would have been nearer the truth. However, he pursues the same mode of partition in passing higher up.
Εντευθεν δε ο Νειλος εςιν ο υπερ Δελτα. τοτε δε τα μεν δεξια καλεσι Λιβυην αναπλεοντι.---τα δ' εν αριστερα Αραβιαν. From this point at Cercesura, we meet with the Nile above Delta; and the country to the right of it they call Libya; and all to the left Arabia. He is here in every respect right, and deter
Strabo, 1. 17. p. 1160.
mines the situation of each place truly. But when he adjudges the eastern part of Delta to Arabia, he goes contrary to all precedent, and has been the cause of much perplexity. Pliny tells us ---ultra Pelusium ' Arabia est : therefore all that was within should be distinguished from it.
The Situation of the City more particularly de
may perceive that the ancient city of this name was situated in Egypt; and for this we have the evidence of Herodotus and Pliny. Yet there are many writers who have adjudged it to another part of the world. This has arisen partly from their not apprehending the true meaning of Strabo, and partly from their not considering that there were two cities of this name.
In respect to the authority of Strabo, it is true that he places Heliopolis in Arabia ; but this does not exclude it from being in Egypt; for he ascribes Egypt itself, at least a part of it, to the same country. The city therefore might be, and certainly was,
Strabo, 1. 5. p. 259.