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cept that I wish to show what they are. One of them says that the Etesian winds are the cause of the swelling of the river, by preventing the Nile from discharging itself into the sea. But frequently the Etesian winds have not blown, yet the Nile produces the same effects; besides, if the Etesian winds were the cause, all other rivers that flow opposite to the same winds, must of necessity be equally affected and in the same manner as the Nile; and even so much the more, as they are less and have weaker currents: yet there are many rivers in Syria, and many in Libya, which are not all affected as the Nile is. 21. The second opinion shows still more ignorance than the former, but, if I may so say, is more marvellous. It says that the Nile, flowing from the ocean, produces this effect; and that the ocean flows all round the earth. 22. The third way of resolving this difficulty is by far the most specious, but most untrue. For by saying that the Nile flows from melted snow, it says nothing, for this river flows from Libya through the middle of Ethiopia and discharges itself into Egypt; how therefore, since it runs from a very hot to a colder region, can it flow from snow 2 Many reasons will readily occur to men of good understanding, to show the improbability of its flowing from snow. The first and chief proof is derived from the winds, which blow hot from those regions: the second is, that the country, destitute of rain, is always free from ice; but after snow has fallen, it must of necessity rain within five days; so that if snow fell, it would also rain in these regions. In the third place, the inhabitants become black from the excessive heat; kites and swallows continue there all the year; and the cranes, to avoid the cold of Scythia, migrate to these parts as winter quarters: if then ever so little snow fell in this country through which the Nile flows, and from which it derives its source, none of these things would happen, as necessity proves. 23. But the person who speaks about the ocean, since he has referred his account to some obscure fable, produces no conviction at all; for I do not know any river called the Ocean; but suppose that Homer, or some other ancient poet, having invented the name, introduced it into poetry. 24. Yet if, after I have found fault with the opinions advanced by others, it becomes me to declare my own concerning so obscure a question, I will describe what, in my opinion, 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 south-west, 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 rain-water 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 these parts, the sun scorching everything 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 midday, 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 Liby
and Isuppose he would produce in his passage the same effects on the Ister, 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 respect 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 Saisin 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 thesemountains 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, cannot reach the bottom. 29. I was unable to learn any thing more from any one else. But thus much I learnt 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 plough, 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 Maeander. There are twelve schoeni, 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 honour 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 Daphnae 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 Daphnae. Now these Egyptians, after they had been on duty three years, were not relieved; therefore having consulted together, and come to an unanimous resolution, they all revolted from Psammitichus, and went to Ethiopia. Psammitichus, shearing 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 recompence. There were
certain Ethiopians disaffected towards him ; these he bade them expel, and take possession of their land: 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 Cyrenaeans, 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 Lybian 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 further information touching the deserts of Libya, they answered, that there were some daring youths amongst 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 further 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 Phoenicians: 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 further 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 towards the west; and when they had traversed much sandy