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nowned ; this is called the Sebennytic mouth. There are also two other mouths, that diverge from the Sebennytic and flow into the sea ; to these the following names are given, to one the Saitic, to the other the Mendesian mouth. The Bolbitine and Bucolic mouths are not natural, but artificial. 18. My opinion that Egypt is of the extent I have above declared it to be, is confirmed by an oracle delivered at Ammon, which I heard after I had formed my own opinion respecting Egypt. For the people who inhabit the cities of Marea and Apis, in the part of Egypt bordering on Libya, deeming themselves Libyans and not Egyptians, and being discontented with the institutions regarding victims, were desirous not to be restricted from the use of cow's flesh, and therefore sent to Ammon, saying, "that they had no relation to the Egyptians, because they lived out of Delta, and did not speak the same language with them; and desired to be allowed to eat all manner of food.”
The god, however, did not permit them to do so, saying, “that all the country which the Nile irrigated was Egypt, and that all those were Egyptians who dwell below the city Elephantine, and drink of that river. Such was the answer given them. 19. But the Nile, when full, inundates not only Delta, but also part of the country said to belong to Libya and Arabia, to the extent of about two days' journey on either side, more or less.
Respecting the nature of this river, I was unable to gain any information, either from the priests or any one else. I was very desirous, however, of learning from them why the Nile, beginning at the summer solstice, fills and overflows for a hundred days; and when it has nearly completed this number of days, falls short in its stream, and retires ; so that it continues low all the winter, until the return of the summer solstice. Of these particulars I could get no information from the Egyptians, though I inquired whether this river have any peculiar quality that makes it differ in nature from other rivers. Being anxious, then, of knowing what was said about this matter, I made inquiries, and also how it comes to pass, that this is the only one of all rivers that does not send forth breezes from its surface. 20. Nevertheless, some of the Greeks, wishing to be distinguished for their wisdom, have attempted to account for these inundations in three different ways: two of these ways are scarcely worth mentioning, ex
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
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 ? 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 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 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 Libya
and I suppose he would produce in bis 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 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, 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 Mæander. There are twelve schoni, 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; 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 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 an 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 recompence. There were