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middle of the drains there are steps on which the husbandman stands, as often as he wishes to water his land, and he is carried round by them. But to prevent falling, he seizes fast of a prop near him, with his hands, to which, clinging, he suspends his whole body and uses his hands in the place of his feet and his feet in the place of his hands ; for he stands upon his hands whose business it is to act, and acts with his feet which are for standing. Hencé we may understand what is intended by Deut. xi. 10. to water the garden with the feet. This instrument is called by the Arabians Sakih (po) irrigatorium.
Archimedes, indeed, is said to be the inventor of it, but this is incredible, since it occurs in the books of Moses. The Egyptians make use of their feet for treading, but the Persians make use of cattle. t Indeed the drains are ex. cellent and most necessary inventions: but the aqueducts are still more important. Thus, according to Pliny, I between Arsensis and Memphis, there is a place in circumference CCLX paces, or according to Mutianus CCCCLX, and in depth fifty paces formed by nature, but improved and enlarged by the king of Moeris, whence also it is called the lake of Moeris, which is connected with the Nile by a canal. This place, both on account of its size and its depth, is sufficient to receive the overflowings of the Nile at the time of its increase, so that the water may not destroy the crops and the habitations. Afterwards, the Nile decreasing, by the aid of a ditch it retains a sufficiency of water 'to supply the husbandmen. The ditch is eight stadia long, and three hundred feet broad. By this, the lake sometimes receiving the river water and sometimes not receiving it, retains a suitable supply of water, the mouth being opened at one time and closed at another, not without much labour and expense.
* Conf. Phil. Jud. de confusione linguarum p. 255. edit. Genev. + You may see the figure in the Travels and Observations in several parts of Levant, by Shaw, T. II. p. 537. Norden's Voyage d'Egypte et de Nubie, T. I. fig. 53. ad pag. 61. Niebuhr's Beschreibung Arabiens, T. I. p. 148. &c. In the Koran, Sur. II. v. 66. Muhamed says, “ the heifer which has not plowed the earth nor watered the land," that is, which has not moved in the wheel which draws the water, and by which it is poured into the canals that water the land. From Babylon even to the Nile a certain hill descends, by which water is drawn from the river by means of wheels and pumps, captives working continually. Conf. Strab. Geogr. lib. xvii, p. 807. Hannoverishes Magazin, 1780. St. 57. p. 899.
* Hist. Natur. lib. v. c. 9.
For whoever would remove or replace the enclosures of this structure, had to expend not less than fifty talents. The lake has remained subserving the conveniences of the Egyptians even to our times, the name only being changed, for it is called Lacus Charontis. * But this lake affords another advantage to the Egyptians; an immense number of fish grow in it. It is said to produce twenty two kinds of fish, and so great a number is caught, that although there is an immense number of men who follow the business of salting them, they can scarcely accomplish their work.
§ VI. The fertility arising from the Nile. Among other nations, agriculture is carried on with great expense and labour; but among the Egyptians alone their fruits are collected with very little expense or trouble, whence also the common people, when the Nile overflows, freed from work, give themselves up to relaxation, feasting continually, and enjoying without interruption all things that conduce to pleasuret. Then when the slime is left, the fertility is so great, that they are often compelled to mix it with gravel, lest the seed being sown in this too rich and nitrous slime, should perish from its richness. Particularly the lower part of Egypt which is called the Delta is too rich. On the contrary, in the
Conf. Strab. Geog. lib. xvii. p. 811. Diod. Sic. Bibl. hist. lib. i. p. 34. + Conf. Diod. Sic. Bib. hist. lib. i. Trovin's Series of Adventures in the course of a voyage up the Red Sea, &c. p. 229.
more elevated country which is not overflowed by the Nile, much smaller crops are to be expected. It adds very much to the fertility of Egypt, that it has a double summer every year ; the former of which is very uneven and inconstant, with excessive heat, which is very trying to the body, especially of a stranger not accustomed to this climate. It begins in the month of March and continues until May. The other summer, which is called the second part of the summer, succeeds the former, for it begins in the month of June and closes about the end of August. This summer is more uniform than the former and more constant, less hot and offensive to the body. The autumn comprises two months, September and October. The winter begins in the month of November and extends to January. The spring is observed in January and February : in these months the trees begin to bud, and the earth is rendered very beautiful with green herbs, plants, and flowers. *
§ VII. The water of the Nile is said to be very whole
some, and productive of fruitfulness in women.
The water of the Nile is highly spoken of for drinking. But as it contains much dirt and mud, it is necessary first to strain it, and then to preserve it in earthen vessels, until the mud settles, and the water becomes clear. Galent testifies that the Egyptians used it strained through earthen vessels, hy which process it is preferable to all other waters ; for it is very pure, limpid, and of a sweet taste. Whence Aeschylust also calls the water of the Nile, EUTOTOVCE0s, that is a flowing stream, sweet and suitable for drinking. For who will not believe that the wa
* Confer Prosp. Alpinum de medicina Ægyptionum lib. i. c. 7. Dapper's Beschreibung von Afrika. p. 126.
4 De Simpl. Medic. Facult. lib. i. Prosp. Alpin. I. c. Dapper p. 131. * In Prometheo vincto. p. 49.
ter of that very celebrated river is the best of all for the use of man ; seeing that by so long a course, it passes through so extensive a country, burnt by the sun, which the ancients thought not habitable on account of its excessive heat; and seeing, moreover, that it is almost heated by the sun in its long journey, and by the motion and agitation which happen in so extended a progress, and by its descent from high mountains, the river being precipitated from lofty eminences, it becomes completely purified. And because that river has not a rocky channel, but one of very rich earth, it is evident that least of all waters it will injure by its coldness. For these reasons, Avicenna and Prosper Alpinus have spoken in the highest terms of this water. The Egyptians keep the water of the Nile in casks as wine is kept. For as it does not become putrid, according to Aristides, they preserve it three, or four, or even more years, at which time it comes in as great demand amongst them as wine with us. The Nile is said not only to fertilize the land, but also to produce fruitfulness in women. For Pliny* states from Trogus that in Egypt it is very common for twins to be born, and that three, and four are often brought forth at one birth, and seven have been.
Strabot asserts that Aristotle has said the same thing. But perhaps the text has been altered, and instead of επταδυμα it ought to be read πενταδυμα, since Aristotle in various other places, speaks of five at a birth, and Gellius affirms the same thing from him. Aristotle the philosopher, has related that a woman in Egypt brought forth five children at a birth, and this is the largest number ever heard of, and this number very seldom is found. But it often happens that the Egyptians bring forth twins.
* Hist. Natur. lib. vii. cap. 3. Aristotelis de hist. animal. lib. viï. cap. 4. Conf. Rittershusius in Oppiani Cynag. lib. ii. c. 143. p. 57.
+ Geog. lib. xv. p. 695.
# De Generat. Animal. lib. iv. c. 4. et 5 de hist. animal. lib. vii. cap. 5. p. 822. Gellius lib. x. c. 2. p. 504.
And, ancient authors say that three and four are often born at a birth, and indeed in some lands that is common. It is said that a certain woman in four births, during the space of five years, brought forth twenty children, the most of whom grew up. Credible authors tell of a woman in Peloponnesus, who in five births brought forth four at a time.
It is certain that the three Horatii were of one birth, and likewise the three Curutii, as can be shown from the ancient coins which have this inscription, C. CVR. et TRIGE*. Laétius also says, that he saw in the palace a freed woman who was brought from Alexandria, to be showed to Adrian, with five children, of which four were brought forth at a birth, and the fifth forty days after.t
§ VIII. The evils which arise from the Nile.
I have abundantly shown the benefits arising from the Nile and its advantages with respect to fertility ; but it will bear no comparison with the fertility of the land of Palestine, which I shall now describe after having premised some of the evils that arise from the Nile. I have already mentioned that the Nile carries with it a great quantity of very rich clay. From this a great variety of insects arise, which putrefy when they die and poison the air. The bird called Ibis, is, on this account, of great utility, for it devours these pestiferous insects and removes the evil. Whence the Egyptians worshipped that benefactor with divine honours, and punished invariably with death every one that killed the Ibis, either willingly
* Patinus in Famil. p. 97. n. 1. et 2. apud Gorlæum p. 30.
Confer. Paulus Jurisconsultus in leg. iii. Digest. If the subject of heirship be sought, Julianus leg. xxxvi. Dig. De solutionibus et liberationibus,