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causes the Nile to overflow in summer. During the winter season, the sun, being driven by storms from his former course, retires to the upper parts of Libya; this, in few words, comprehends the whole matter; for it is natural that that country which this god is nearest to, and over which he is, should be most in want of water, and that the native river streams should be dried up. 25. But, to explain my meaning more at length, the case is this: the sun, passing over the upper parts of Libya, produces the following effect: as the air in these regions is always serene, and the soil always hot, since there are no cold winds passing over, he produces just the same effect as he usually does in the summer, when passing through the middle of the firmament; for he attracts the water to himself, and, having so attracted it, throws it back upon the higher regions; there the winds, taking it up and dispersing it, melt it; and therefore, with good reason, the winds that blow from this country, from the south and southwest, are by far the most rainy of all. I do not think, however, that the sun on each occasion discharges the annual supply of water from the Nile, but that some remains about him. When, however, the winter grows mild, the sun returns again to the middle of the heavens, and from that time attracts water equally from all rivers. Up to this time, those other rivers, having much rainwater mixed with them, flow with full streams; but as the country has been watered by showers and torn up by torrents, when the showers fail them, and they are attracted in summer by the sun, they become weak; but the Nile, being destitute of rain, and attracted by the sun, is the only river that, with good reason, flows much weaker than usual at this time than in summer; for in summer it is attracted equally with all other waters, but in winter it alone is hard pressed. Thus I consider that the sun is the cause of these things. 26. The same cause, in my opinion, occasions also the dryness of the air in those parts, the sun scorching every thing in his passage: in
consequence of this, heat always prevails in the upper parts of Libya. But if the order of the seasons were changed, and that part of the heaven where the north and winter are now placed could be made the position of the south and mid-day, and the north were transferred to the south—if such a change were made, the sun, driven from the middle of the firmament by the winter and the north wind, would go to the upper parts of Europe, as he now does through those of Libya; and I sup
pose he would produce in his passage the same effects on the Īster which he now does on the Nile. 27. Then, with regard to the reason why no breezes blow from the Nile, my opinion is that it is very improbable they should blow from hot countries, for they generally blow from some cold one,
28. But I leave these things as they are, and as they were at the beginning. With regard to the sources of the Nile, no man of all the Egyptians, Libyans, or Grecians with whom I have conversed ever pretended to know any thing, except the registrar of Minerva's treasury at Sais in Egypt. He, indeed, seemed to be trifling with me when he said he knew perfectly well; yet his account was as follows: “ That there are two mountains rising into a sharp peak, situated between the city of Syene in Thebais and Elephantine ; the names of these mountains are, the one Crophi, the other Mophi ; that the sources of the Nile, which are bottomless, flow from between these mountains, and that half of the water flows over Egypt, and to the north, the other half over Ethiopia and the south. That the fountains of the Nile are bottomless, he said, Psammitichus, king of Egypt, proved by experiment; for having caused a line to be twisted many thousand fathoms in length, he let it down, but could not find a bottom.” Such, then, was the opinion the registrar gave, if indeed he spoke the real truth, proving, in my opinion, that there are strong whirlpools and an eddy here; so that, the water beating against the rocks, a sounding-line, when let down, can not reach the bottom. 29. I was unable to learn any thing more from any one else; but thus much I learned by carrying my researches as far as possible, having gone and made my own observations as far as Elephantine, and beyond that obtaining information from hearsay. As one ascends the river, above the city of Elephantine the country is steep; here, therefore, it is necessary to attach a rope on both sides of a boat, as one does with an ox in a plow, and so proceed; but if the rope should happen to break, the boat is carried away by the force of the stream. This kind of country lasts for a four days passage, and the Nile here winds as much as the Mæander. There are twelve schæni which it is necessary to sail through in this manner, and after that you will come to a level plain, where the Nile flows round an island; its name is Tachompso. Ethiopians inhabit the country immediately above Elephantine, and one half of the island; the other half
is inhabited by Egyptians. Near to this island lies a vast lake, on the borders of which Ethiopian nomades dwell; after sailing through this lake, you will come to the channel of the Nile, which flows into it; then you will have to land and travel forty days by the side of the river, for sharp rocks rise in the Nile, and there are many sunken ones, through which it is not possible to navigate a boat: having passed this country in the forty days, you must go on board another boat, and sail for twelve days, and then you will arrive at a large city called Meroe: this city is said to be the capital of all Ethiopia. The inhabitants worship no other gods than Jupiter and 'Bacchus, but these they honor with great magnificence; they have also an oracle of Jupiter; and they make war whenever that god bids them by an oracular warning, and against whatever country he bids them. 30. Sailing from this city, you will arrive at the country of the Automoli in a space of time equal to that which you took in coming from Elephantine to the capital of the Ethiopians. These Automoli are called by the name of Asmak, which in the language of Greece signifies “ those that stand at the left hand of the king." These, to the number of two hundred and forty thousand of the Egyptian war-tribe, revolted to the Ethiopians on the following occasion. In the reign of king Psammitichus garrisons were stationed at Elephantine against the Ethiopians, and another at the Pelusian Daphnæ against the Arabians and Syrians, and another at Marea against Libya; and even in my time garrisons of the Persians are stationed in the same places as they were in the time of Psammitichus, for they maintain guards at Elephantine and Daphnæ. Now these Egyptians, after they had been on duty three years, were not relieved; therefore, having consulted together, and come to a unanimous resolution, they all revolted from Psammitichus, and went to Ethiopia. Psammitichus, hearing of this, pursued them; and when he overtook them, he entreated them by many arguments, and adjured them not to forsake the gods of their fathers, and their children and wives. But one of them is reported to have uncovered his private parts, and to have said, “that wheresoever these
were, there they should find both children and wives.” These men, when they arrived in Ethiopia, offered their services to the king of the Ethiopians, who made them the following recompense. There were certain Ethiopians disaffected
toward him ; these he bade them expel, and take possession of their lande: by the settlement of these men among the Ethiopians, the Ethiopians became more civilized, and learned the manners of the Egyptians.
31. Now for a voyage and land journey of four months, the Nile is known, in addition to the part of the stream that is in Egypt; for upon computation, so many months are known to be spent by a person who travels from Elephantine to the Automoli. This river flows from the west and the setting of the sun ; but beyond this no one is able to speak with certainty, for the rest of the country is desert by reason of the excessive heat. 32. But I have heard the following account from certain Cyrenæans, who say that they went to the oracle of Ammon, and had a conversation with Etearchus, king of the Ammonians, and that, among other subjects, they happened to discourse about the Nile—that nobody knew its sources ; whereupon Etearchus said that certain Nasamonians once came to him: this nation is Libyan, and inhabits the Syrtis, and the country for no great distance eastward of the Syrtis; and that when these Nasamonians arrived, and were asked if they could give any farther information touching the deserts of Libya, they answered that there were some daring youths among them, sons of powerful men, and that they, having reached man's estate, formed many other extravagant plans, and, moreover, chose five of their number by lot to explore the deserts of Libya, to see if they could make any farther discovery than those who had penetrated the farthest. (For as respects the parts of Libya along the Northern Sea, beginning from Egypt to the promontory of Solois, where is the extremity of Libya, Libyans and various nations of Libyans reach all along it, except those parts which are occupied by Grecians and Phænicians; but as respects the parts above the sea, and those nations which reach down to the sea, in the upper parts Libya is infested by wild beasts; and all beyond that is sand, dreadfully short of water, and utterly desolate.) They farther related, “ that when the young men deputed by their companions set out, well furnished with water and provisions, they passed first through the inhabited country; and having traversed this, they came to the region infested by wild beasts ; and after this they crossed the desert, making their way toward the west ; and when they had traversed much sandy
ground, during a journey of many days, they at length saw some trees growing in a plain, and that they approached and began to gather the fruit that grew on the trees; and while they were gathering, some diminutive men, less than men of middle stature, came up, and having seized them, carried them away; and that the Nasamonians did not at all understand their language, nor those who carried them off the language of the Nasamonians. However, they conducted them through vast morasses, and when they had passed these, they came to a city, in which all the inhabitants were of the same size as their conductors, and black in color; and by the city flowed a great river, running from the west to the east, and that crocodiles were seen in it.” 33. Thus far I have set forth the account of Etearchus the Ammonian; to which may be added, as the Cyrenæans assured me, 66 that he said the Nasamonians all returned safe to their own country, and that the men whorn they came to were all necromancers.' Etearchus also conjectured that this river, which flows by their city, is the Nile; and reason so evinces; for the Nile flows from Libya, and intersects it in the middle; and (as I conjecture, inferring things unknown from things known) it sets out from a point corresponding with the Ister; for the Ister, beginning from the Celts and the city of Pyrene, divides Europe in its course ; but the Celts are beyond the pillars of Hercules, and border on the territories of the Cynesians, who lie in the extremity of Europe to the westward; and the Ister terminates by flowing through all Europe into the Euxine Sea, where a Milesian colony is settled in Istria. 34. Now the Ister, as it flows through a well-peopled country, is generally known ; but no one is able to speak about the sources of the Nile, because Libya, through which it flows, is uninhabited and desolate. Respecting this stream, therefore, as far as I was able to reach by inquiry, I have already spoken. It, however, discharges itself into Egypt; and Egypt lies, as near as may be, opposite to the mountains of Cilicia; from whence to Sinope, on the Euxine Sea, is a five day's journey in a straight line to an active man; and Sinope is opposite to the Ister, where it discharges itself into the sea. So I think that the Nile, traversing the whole of Libya, may be properly compared with the Ister. Such, then, is the account that I am able to give respecting the Nile.