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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Geography


published in Vol. VIII
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,

The text is in the public domain.

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(Vol. VIII) Strabo

 p77  Book XVII

25 (804) There is another canal which empties into the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf near the city Arsinoê, a city which some call Cleopatris. It flows also through the Bitter Lakes, as they are called, which were indeed bitter in earlier times, but when the above-mentioned canal was cut they underwent a change because of the mixing with the river, and now are well supplied with fish and full also of aquatic birds. The canal was first cut by Sesostris before the Trojan War — though some say by the son of Psammitichus,​147 who only began the work and then died — and later by Dareius the First,​148 who succeeded to the next work done upon it. But he, too, having been persuaded by a false notion, abandoned the work when it was already near completion; for he was persuaded that the Red Sea was higher than Aegypt, and that if the intervening isthmus were cut all the way through, Aegypt would be inundated by the sea. The Ptolemaïc hands,​149 however, cut through it and made the strait a closed passage,​150 so when they wished they could sail out without hindrance into the outer sea and sail in again. But I have  p79 already discussed the levels of the bodies of water in my first commentaries.151

26 Near Arsinoê one comes also to Heroönpolis and Cleopatris, in the recess of the Arabian Gulf towards Aegypt, 805 and to harbours and settlements, and near there, to several canals and lakes. Here, too, is the Phagroriopolite Nome and the city Phagrioropolis. The canal which empties into the Red Sea begins at Phacussa, a village, to which the Village of Philae is contiguous; the canal has a breadth of one hundred cubits and a depth sufficient for very large merchant-vessels; and these places are near the vertex of the Delta.

27 Here are both the city Bubastus and the Bubastite Nome; and above it is the Heliopolite Nome. In this Nome is Heliupolis, which is situated upon a noteworthy mound; it contains the temple of Helios, and the ox Mneuïs, which is kept in a kind of sanctuary and is regarded among the inhabitants as god, as is Apis in Memphis. In front of the mound are lakes, which receive the overflow from the neighbouring canal. The city is now entirely deserted; it contains the ancient temple constructed in the Aegyptian manner, which affords many evidences of the madness and sacrilege of Cambyses, who partly by fire and partly by iron sought to outrage the temples, mutilating them and burning them on every side, just as he did with the obelisks. Two of these, which were not completely spoiled, were brought to Rome, but others are either still there or at Thebes, the present Diospolis — some still standing, thoroughly eaten by the fire, and others lying on the ground.

 p81  28 The plan of the construction of the temples​152 is as follows:​153 at the entrance into the sacred precinct there is a floor paved with stones, with a breadth of about a plethrum, or less, and a length either three or four times as great, or in some cases more; and this is called the dromus,​154 as Callimachus states: "This is the dromus, sacred to Anubis."​155 Throughout its whole length are stone sphinxes placed in order on each of its two sides, at a distance from one another of twenty cubits or a little more, so that one row of the sphinxes is on the right and one row on the left. And after the sphinxes one comes to a large propylum,​156 and then, as one proceeds, another, then another; but there is no prescribed number either of propyla or of sphinxes, and they are different in different temples, as are also the lengths and the breadths of the dromi. After the propylaea one comes to the naos,​157 which has a large and noteworthy pronaos,​158 and to a sanctuary of commensurate size, though it has no statue, or rather no statue of human form, but only of some irrational animal. On either side of the pronaos project the wings, as they are called. These are two walls equal in height to the naos, which are at first distant from one another 806 a little more than the breadth of the foundation of the naos, and then, as one proceeds onward, follow  p83 converging lines as far as fifty or sixty cubits; and these walls have figure of large images cut in low relief, like the Tyrrhenian​159 images and the very old works of art among the Greeks. There is also a kind of hall with numerous columns (as at Memphis, for example), which is constructed in the barbaric manner; for, except for the fact that the columns are large and numerous and form many rows, the hall has nothing pleasing or picturesque, but is rather a display of vain toil.

29 In Heliupolis I also saw large houses in which the priests lived; for it is said that this place in particular was in ancient times a settlement of priests who studied philosophy and astronomy; but both this organisation and its pursuits have now disappeared. At Heliupolis, in fact, no one was pointed out to me as presiding over such pursuits, but only those who performed the sacrifices and explained to strangers what pertained to the sacred rites. When Aelius Gallus the praefect sailed up into Aegypt, he was accompanied by a certain man from Alexandria, Chaeremon​160 by name, who pretended to some knowledge of this kind, but was generally ridiculed as a boaster and ignoramus. However, at Heliupolis the houses of the priests and schools of Plato and Eudoxus were pointed out to us; for Eudoxus went up to that place with Plato, and they both passed thirteen years​161 with the priests, as is stated by some writers; for since these priests excelled in their knowledge of the heavenly bodies,  p85 albeit secretive and slow to impart it, Plato and Eudoxus prevailed of them in time and by courting their favour to let them learn some of the principles of their doctrines; but the barbarians concealed most things. However, these men did teach them the fractions of the day and night which, running over and above the three hundred and sixty five days, fill out the time of the true year.​162 But at that time the true year was unknown among the Greeks, as also many other things, until the later astrologers learned from the men who had translated into Greek the records of the priests; and even to this day they learn their teachings, and likewise those of the Chaldaeans.

30 From Heliupolis, then, one comes to the Nile above the Delta. Of this, the parts on right, as one sails up, are called Libya, as also the parts round Alexandria and Lake Mareotis, whereas those on the left are called Arabia. Now Heliupolis is in Arabia, but the city Cercesura, which lies near the observatories of Eudoxus, is in Libya; 807 a kind of watch-tower is to be seen in front of Heliupolis, as also in front of Cnidus, with reference to which Eudoxus would note down his observations of certain movements of the heavenly bodies. Here the Nome is the Letopolite. And, having sailed farther up the river, one comes to Babylon, a stronghold, where some Babylonians had withdrawn in revolt and then successfully negotiated for permission  p87 from the kings to build a settlement;​163 but now it is an encampment of one of the three legions that guard Aegypt. There is a ridge extending from the encampment even as far as the Nile, on which the water is conducted up from the river​164 by wheels and screws; and one hundred and fifty prisoners are employed in the work; and from here one can clearly see the pyramids​165 on the far side of the river at Memphis, and they are near to it.166

31 Memphis itself, the royal residence of the Aegyptians, is also near Babylon; for the distance to it from the Delta is only three schoeni.​167 It contains temples, one of which is that of Apis, who is the same as Osiris; it is here that the bull Apis is kept in a kind of sanctuary, being regarded, as I have said, as god; his forehead and certain other small parts of his body are marked with white, but the other parts are black;​168 and it is by these marks that they always choose the bull suitable for the succession, when the one that holds the honour has died. In front of the sanctuary is situated a court, in which there is another sanctuary belonging to the bull's mother. Into this court they set Apis loose at a certain hour, particularly that he may be shown to foreigners; for although people can see him through the window in the sanctuary, they wish to see him outside also; but when he has finished a short bout of skipping in the court they take him back again to his familiar stall.

 p89  There is here, then, not only the temple of Apis, which lies near the Hephaesteium, but also the Hephaesteium itself, which is a costly structure both in the size of its naos and in all other respects. In front, in the dromus, stands also a colossus made of one stone;​169 and it is the custom to hold bull-fights in this dromus, and certain men breed these bulls for the purpose, like horse-breeders; for the bulls are set loose and join in combat, and the one that is regarded as victor gets a prize. And at Memphis there is also a temple of Aphroditê, who is considered to be a Greek goddess,​170 though some say that it is a temple of Selenê.171

32 There is also a Sarapium at Memphis, in a place so very sandy that dunes of sand are heaped up by the winds; and by these some of the sphinxes which I saw were buried even to the head and others were only half-visible; from which one might guess the danger if a sand-storm should fall upon a man travelling on foot towards the temple. The city is both large and populous, ranks second after Alexandria, and consists of mixed races of people, like those who have settled together at Alexandria. There are lakes situated in front of the city and the palaces, which latter, though now in ruins and deserted, 808 are situated on a height and extend down to the ground of the city below; and adjoining the city are a grove and a lake.

33 On proceeding forty stadia from the city, one  p91 comes to a kind of mountain-brow; on it are numerous pyramids, the tombs of kings, of which three are noteworthy; and two of these are even numbered among the Seven Wonders of the World, for they are a stadium in height, are quadrangular in shape, and their height is a little greater than the length of each of the sides; and one​172 of them is only a little larger than the other.​173 High up, approximately midway between the sides, it has a movable stone,​174 and when this is raised up there is a sloping  p93 passage to the vault.​175 Now these pyramids are near one another and on the same level; but farther on, at a greater height of the hill, is the third, which is much smaller than the two, though constructed at much greater expense; for from the foundations almost to the middle it is made of black stone, the stone from which mortars are made, being brought from a great distance, for it is brought from the mountains of Aethiopia; and because of its being hard and difficult to work into shape it rendered the undertaking very expensive. It is called "Tomb of the Courtesan," having been built by her lovers — the courtesan whom Sappho​176 the Melic poetess calls Doricha, the beloved of Sappho's brother Charaxus, who was engaged in transporting Lesbian wine to Naucratis for sale,​177 but others give her the name Rhodopis.​178 They tell the fabulous story that, when she was bathing, an eagle snatched one of her sandals from her maid and carried it to Memphis; and while the king was administering justice in the open air, the eagle, when it arrived above his head, flung the sandal into  p95 his lap; and the king, stirred both by the beautiful shape of the sandal and by the strangeness of the occurrence, sent men in all directions into the country in quest of the woman who wore the sandal; and when she was found in the city of Naucratis, she was brought up to Memphis, became the wife of the king, and when she died was honoured with the above-mentioned tomb.

34 One of the marvellous things I saw at the pyramids should not be omitted: there are heaps of stone-chips lying in front of the pyramids; and among these are found chips that are like lentils in both form and size; and under some of the heaps lie winnowings, as it were, as of half-peeled grains. They say that what was left of the food of the workmen has petrified; and this is not improbable. Indeed, in my home-country,​179 in a plain, there is a long hill which is full of lentil-shaped pebbles of porous stone;​180 and the pebbles both of the seas and of the rivers present about the same puzzling question; 809 but while these latter find an explanation in the motion caused by the current of water, the speculation in that other case is more puzzling. It has been stated elsewhere​181 that in the neighbourhood of the quarry of the stones from which the pyramids are built, which is in sight of the pyramids, on the far side of the river in Arabia, there is a very rocky mountain which is called "Trojan," and that there are caves at the foot of it, and a village near both these and the river which is called Troy, being an ancient settlement  p97 of the captive Trojans who accompanied Menelaüs but stayed there.182

35 After Memphis one comes to a city Acanthus, likewise situated in Libya, and to the temple of Osiris and the grove of the Thebaïc acantha,​183 from which the gum​184 is obtained. Then to the Aphroditopolite Nome, and to the city of like name in Arabia, where is kept a white cow which is sacred. Then to the Heracleote Nome, on a large island, where, on the right, is the canal which leads into Libya to the Arsenoïte Nome, so that the canal has two mouths, a part of the island intervening between the two.​185 This Nome is the most noteworthy of all in respect to its appearance, its fertility, and its material development, for it alone is planted with olive trees that are large and full-grown and bear fine fruit, and it would also produce good olive oil if the olives were carefully gathered.​186 But since they neglect this matter, although they make much oil, it has a bad smell (the rest of Aegypt has no olive trees, except the gardens near Alexandria, which are sufficient for supplying olives, but furnish no oil). And it produces wine in no small quantity, as well as grain, pulse, and the other seed-plants in very great varieties. It also contains the wonderful lake called the Lake of Moeris, which is an open sea in size and like a sea in colour; and its shores, also, resemble those of a sea, so that one may make the same supposition about this region as about  p99 that of Ammon (in fact, Ammon and the Heracleote Nome are not very far distant from one another or from Paraetonium), that, just as from the numerous evidences one may surmise that that temple was in earlier times situated on the sea, so likewise these districts were in earlier times on the sea. And Lower Aegypt and the parts extending as far as Lake Sirbonis were sea — this sea being confluent, perhaps, with the Red Sea in the neighbourhood of Heroönpolis and the Aelanites​187 Gulf.

36 I have already discussed this subject at greater length in the First Commentary of my Geography,​188 but now also I must comment briefly on the work of Nature and at the same time upon that of Providence, since they contribute to one result.​189 The work of Nature is this, that all things converge to one thing, the centre of the whole, and form a sphere around this; and the densest and most central thing is the earth, 810 and the thing that is less so and next in order after it is the water; and that each of the two is a sphere, the former solid, the latter hollow, having the earth inside of it. And the work of Providence is this, that being likewise a broiderer, as it were, and artificer of countless works, it has willed, among its first works, to beget living beings, both gods and men, on whose account everything else has been formed. Now to the gods Providence assigned the heavens and to men the earth, which are the extremities of the two parts of the universe; and the two extremities of the sphere are the central part and the outermost  p101 part.​190 But since water surrounds the earth, and man is not an aquatic animal, but a land animal that needs air and requires much light, Providence has made numerous elevations and hollows on the earth, so that the whole, or the most, of the water is received in the hollows, hiding the earth beneath it, and the earth projects in the elevations, hiding the water beneath itself, except so much of the latter as is useful for the human race, as also for the animals and plants round it. But since all things are continually in motion and undergo great changes (for it is not possible otherwise for things of this kind and number and size in the universe to be regulated), we must take it for granted, first, that the earth is not always so constant that it is always of this or that size, adding nothing to itself nor subtracting anything, and, secondly, that the water is not, and, thirdly, that neither of the two keeps the same fixed place, especially since the reciprocal change of one into the other is most natural and very near at hand; and also that much of the earth changes into water, and many of the waters become dry land in the same manner as on the earth, where also so many variations take place; for one kind of earth crumbles easily and others are solid, or rocky, or contain ore, and so with the rest. And the case is the same with the properties of liquids: one water is salty, another sweet and potable, and others contain drugs, salutary or deadly, or are hot or cold. Why, then, is it marvellous if some parts of the earth which are at present inhabited were covered with sea in earlier times, and  p103 if what are now seas were inhabited in earlier times? Just as fountains of earlier times have given out and others have sprung forth, and rivers and lakes, so also mountains and plains have changed one into another. But I have discussed this subject at length before,​191 and now let this suffice.

37 Be this as it may, the Lake of Moeris,​192 on account of its size and its depth, is sufficient to bear the flood-tides at the risings of the Nile and not overflow into the inhabited and planted parts, and then, in the retirement of the river, 811 to return the excess water to the river by the same canal at each of its two mouths​193 and, both itself and the canal, to keep back an amount remaining that will be useful for irrigation. While these conditions are the work of nature, yet locks have been placed at both mouths of the canal, by which the engineers​194 regulate both the inflow and the outflow of the water. In addition to the things mentioned, this Nome has the Labyrinth.​195 Near the first entrance to the canal, and on proceeding thence about thirty or forty stadia, one comes to a flat, trapezium-shaped place, which has a village, and also a great palace composed of many palaces — as many in number as there were Nomes in earlier times;​196 for this is the number of courts, surrounded by colonnades, continuous with one another, all in a single row and along one wall, the structure being as it were a long wall with the courts in front of it; and the  p105 roads leading into them are exactly opposite the wall. In front of the entrances are crypts, as it were, which are long and numerous and have winding passages communicating with one another, so that no stranger can find his way either into any court or out of it without a guide. But the marvellous thing is that the roof of each of the chambers consists of a single stone, and that the breadths of the crypts are likewise roofed with single slabs of surpassing size, with no intermixture anywhere of timber or of any other material. And, on ascending to the roof, which is at no great height, one can see a plain of stone, consisting of stones of that great size; and thence, descending out of the courts again, one can see that they lie in a row and are each supported by twenty-seven monolithic pillars; and their walls, also, are composed of stones that are no smaller in size. At the end of this building, which occupies more than a stadium, is the tomb, a quadrangular pyramid, which has sides about four plethra in width and a height equal thereto. Imandes​197 is the name of the man buried there. It is said that this number of courts was built because it was the custom for all the Nomes to assemble there in accordance with their rank, together with their own priests and priestesses, for the sake of sacrifice and of offering gifts to the gods and of administering  p107 justice in matters of the greatest importance. And each of the Nomes was conducted to the court appointed to it.198

38 Sailing along shore for a distance of one hundred stadia, one comes to the city Arsinoê, which in earlier times was called Crocodeilonpolis; for the people in this Nome hold in very great honour the crocodile, and there is a sacred one there which is kept and fed by itself in a lake, and is tame to the priests. It is called Suchus; and it is fed on grain and pieces of meat and on wine, which are always being fed to it by the foreigners who go to see it. 812 At any rate, our host, one of the officials, who was introducing us into the mysteries there, went with us to the lake, carrying from the dinner a kind of cooky and some roasted meat and a pitcher of wine mixed with honey. We found the animal lying on the edge of the lake; and when the priests went up to it, some of them opened its mouth and another put in the cake, and again the meat, and then poured down the honey mixture. The animal then leaped into the lake and rushed across to the far side; but when another foreigner arrived, likewise carrying an offering of first-fruits, the priests took it, went around the lake in a run, took hold of the animal, and in the same manner fed it what had been brought.

39 After the Arsinoïte and Heracleotic Nomes, one comes to a City of Heracles, where the people hold in honour the ichneumon,​a the very opposite of the practice of the Arsinoïtae; for whereas the latter hold the crocodile in honour — and on this account  p109 both their canal and the Lake of Moeris are full of crocodiles, for the people revere them and abstain from harming them​199 — the former hold in honour the ichneumons, which are the deadliest enemies of the crocodile, as also of the asp; for they destroy, not only the eggs of the asps, but also the asps themselves, having armed themselves with a breastplate of mud; for they first roll themselves in mud, make it dry in the sun, and then, seizing the asps by either the head or the tail, drag them down into the river and kill them; and as for the crocodiles, the ichneumons lie in wait for them, and when the crocodiles are basking in the sun with their mouths open the ichneumons throw themselves into their open jaws, eat through their entrails and bellies, and emerge from their dead bodies.​b

40 One comes next to the Cynopolite Nome, and to Cynonpolis,​200 where Anubis is held in honour where a form of worship and sacred feeding has been organised for all dogs. On the far side of the river lie the city Oxyrynchusº and a nome bearing the same name. They hold in honour the oxyrynchus​201 and have a temple sacred to Oxyrynchus, though the other Aegyptians in common also hold in honour the oxyrynchus. In fact, certain animals are worshipped by all Aegyptians in common, as, for example, three land animals, bull and dog and cat, and two birds, hawk and ibis, and two aquatics, scale-fish and oxyrynchus, but there are other animals which are honoured by separate groups independently of the rest, as, for example, a sheep by the Saïtae and also by the Thebans; a latus, a fish of the Nile, by  p111 the Latopolitae; a lycus202 by the Lycopolitae; a cynocephalus203 by the Hermopolitae; a cebus204 by the Babylonians who live near Memphis (the cebus has a face like a satyr, is between a dog and a bear in other respects, and is bred in Aethiopia); an eagle by the Thebans; 813 a lion by the Leontopolitae; a female and male goat by the Mendesians; a shrew-mouse​205 by the Athribitae, and other animals by other peoples; but the reasons which they give for such worship are not in agreement.

41 One comes next to the Hermopolitic garrison, a kind of toll-station for goods brought down from the Thebaïs; here begins the reckoning of schoeni at sixty stadia,​206 extending as far as Syenê and Elephantinê; and then to the Thebaïc garrison and the canal that leads to Tanis; and then to Lycopolis and to Aphroditopolis and to Panopolis, an old settlement of linen-workers and stone-workers.

42 Then one comes to the city of Ptolemaïs, which is the largest of the cities in the Thebaïs, is no smaller than Memphis, and has also a form of government modelled on that of the Greeks. Above this city lies Abydus, where is the Memnonium, a royal building, which is a remarkable structure built of solid stone, and of the same workman­ship as that which I ascribed to the Labyrinth, though not multiplex; and also a fountain​207 which lies at a great depth, so that one descends to it down vaulted galleries made of monoliths of surpassing size and  p113 workman­ship. There is a canal leading to the place from the great river; and in the neighbourhood of the canal is a grove of Aegyptian acantha, sacred to Apollo. Abydus appears once to have been a great city, second only to Thebes, but it is now only a small settlement. But if, as they say, Memnon is called Ismandes​208 by the Aegyptians, the Labyrinth might also be a Memnonium and a work of the same man who built both the Memnonia in Abydus and those in Thebes; for it is said that there are also some Memnonia in Thebes. Opposite Abydus is the first of the above-mentioned three oases in Libya; it is a seven days' journey distant from Abydus through a desert; and it is a settlement which abounds in water and in wine, and is sufficiently supplied with other things. The second oasis is that in the neighbourhood of the Lake of Moeris; and the third is that in the neighbourhood of the oracle in Ammon; and these, also, are noteworthy settlements.

43 Now that I have already said much about Ammon,​209 I wish to add only this: Among the ancients both divination in general and oracles were held in greater honour, but now great neglect of them prevails, since the Romans are satisfied with the oracles of Sibylla, and with the Tyrrhenian prophecies obtained by means of the entrails of animals, flight of birds, and omens from the sky; and on this account, also, the oracle at Ammon has been almost abandoned, though it was held in honour in earlier times; and this fact is most clearly shown by those who have recorded the deeds of Alexander, since,  p115 although they add numerous forms of mere flattery,​210 yet they do indicate some things that are worthy of belief. 814 At any rate, Callisthenes says that Alexander conceived a very great ambition to go inland to the oracle, since he had heard that Perseus, as also Heracles, had done so in earlier times; and that he started from Paraetonium, although the south winds had set in, and forced his way; and that when he lost his way because of the thick dust, he was saved by rainfalls and by the guidance of two crows. But this last assertion is flattery and so are the next: that the priest permitted the king alone to pass into the temple in his usual dress, but the rest changed their clothes; that all heard the oracles from outside except Alexander, but he in; that the oracular responses were not, as at Delphi and among the Branchidae,​211 given in words, but mostly by nods and tokens, as in Homer,​212 "Cronion spoke and nodded assent with his dark brows" — the prophet having assumed the rôle of Zeus; that, however, the fellow expressly told the king that he, Alexander, was the son of Zeus. And to this statement Callisthenes dramatically adds that,​213 although the oracle of Apollo among the Branchidae had ceased to speak from the time the temple had been robbed by the Branchidae, who sided with the Persians in the time of Xerxes,​214 and although the spring also had ceased to flow, yet at Alexander's arrival the spring began to flow again and that many oracles were carried by the Milesian  p117 ambassadors to Memphis concerning Alexander's descent from Zeus, his future victory in the neighbourhood of Arbela, the death of Dareius, and the revolutionary attempts in Lacedaemon. And he says that the Erythraean Athenaïs​215 also gave out an utterance concerning Alexander's high descent; for, he adds, this woman was like the ancient Erythraean Sibylla. Such, then, are the accounts of the historians.

44 At Abydus they hold in honour Osiris; and in the temple of Osiris​216 neither singer nor flute-player nor harp-player is permitted to begin the rites in honour of the god, as is the custom in the case of the other gods. After Abydus one comes to the Little Diospolis, and to the city tentyra, where the people, as compared with the other Aegyptians, hold in particular dishonour the crocodile and deem it the most hateful of all animals. For although the others know the malice of the animal and how destructive it is to the human race, still they revere it and abstain from harming it,​217 whereas the Tentyritae track them and destroy them in every way. Some say that, just as there is a kind of natural antipathy between the Psylli​218 near Cyrenaea and reptiles, so there is between the Tentyritae and crocodiles, so that they suffer no injury from them, but even dive in the river without fear and cross over, though no others are bold enough to do so. When the crocodiles were brought to Rome for exhibition, 815 they were attended by the Tentyritae; and when a reservoir and a kind of stage above one of the sides had been made for them, so that they could go out of the  p119 water and have a basking-place in the sun, these men at one time, stepping into the water all together, would drag them in a net to the basking-place, so that they could be seen by the spectators, and at another would pull them down again into the reservoir. They worship Aphrodite; and back of her shrine is a temple of Isis. And then one comes to the Typhonia, as they are called, and to the canal that leads to Coptus, a city common to the Aegyptians and the Arabians.

45 Thence one crosses an isthmus, which extends to the Red Sea, near a city Berenicê. The city has no harbour, but on account of the favourable lay of the isthmus has convenient landing-places. It is said that Philadelphus was the first person, by means of an army, to cut this road, which is without water, and to build stations, as though for the travels of merchants on camels, and that he did this because the Red Sea was hard to navigate, particularly for those who set sail from its innermost recess. So the utility of his plan was shown by experience to be great, and now all the Indian merchandise, as well as the Arabian and such of the Aethiopian as is brought down by the Arabian Gulf, is carried to Coptus, which is the emporium for such cargoes. Not far from Berenicê lies Myus Hormus,​219 a city containing the naval station for sailors; and not far distant from Coptus lies Apollonospolis,​220 as it is called, so that on either side there are two cities which form the boundaries of  p121 the isthmus. But now it is Coptus and Myus Hormus​221 that have high repute; and people frequent these places. Now in earlier times the camel-merchants travelled only by night, looking to the stars for guidance, and, like the mariners, also carried water with them when they travelled; but now they have constructed watering-places, having dug down to a great depth, and, although rain-water is scarce, still they have made cisterns for it. The journey takes six or seven days.​222 On this isthmus are also the mines of smaragdus,​223 where the Arabians dig deep tunnels, I might call them, and of other precious stones.

46 After Apollonospolis one comes to Thebes​224 (now called Diospolis),​225 "Thebes of the hundred gates, whence sally forth two hundred men through each with horses and chariots."​226 So Homer; and he speaks also of its wealth, "even all the revenue of Aegyptian Thebes, 816 where lies in treasure-houses the greatest wealth." And others also say things of this kind, making this city the metropolis of Aegypt. Even now traces of its magnitude are  p123 pointed out, extending as they do for a distance of eighty stadia in length;​227 and there are several temples, but most of these, too, were mutilated by Cambyses;​228 and now it is only a collection of villages, a part of it being in Arabia, where was the city, and a part on the far side of the river, where was the Memnonium. Here are two colossi, which are near one another and are each made of a single stone; one of them is preserved, but the upper parts of the other, from the seat up, fell when an earthquake took place, so it is said. It is believed that once each day a noise, as of a slight blow, emanates from the part of the latter that remains on the throne and its base; and I too, when I was present at the places with Aelius Gallus and his crowd of associates, both friends and soldiers, heard the noise at about the first hour,​229 but whether it came from the base or from the colossus, or whether the noise was made on purpose by one of the men who were standing all round and near to the base, I am unable positively to assert; for on account of the uncertainty of the cause I am induced to believe anything rather than that the sound issued from stones thus fixed. Above the Memnonium, in caves, are tombs of kings, which are stone-hewn, are about forty in number, are marvellously constructed, and are a spectacle worth seeing. And among the tombs,​230 on some obelisks,​231 are inscriptions  p125 which show the wealth of the kings at that time, and also their dominion, as having extended as far as the Scythians and the Bactrians and the Indians and the present Ionia, and the amount of tributes they received, and the size of army they had, about one million men. The priests there are said to have been, for the most part, astronomers and philosophers; and it is due to these priests also that people reckon the days, not by the moon, but by the sun, adding to the twelve months of thirty days each five days each year; and, for the filling out of the whole year, since a fraction of the day runs over and above, they form a period of time from enough whole days, or whole years, to make the fractions that run over and above, when added together, amount to a day.​232 They attribute to Hermes all wisdom of this particular kind; but to Zeus, whom they hold highest in honour, they dedicate a maiden of greatest beauty and most illustrious family (such maidens are called "pallades"​233 by the Greeks); and she prostitutes herself, and cohabits with whatever men she wishes until the natural cleansing of her body takes place;​234 and after her cleansing she is given in marriage to a man; but before she is married, after the time of her prostitution, a rite of mourning is celebrated for her.

47 817 After Thebes, one comes to a city of Hermonthis,  p127 where both Apollo and Zeus are worshipped; and there, too, a bull is kept. And then to a City of Crocodiles, which holds in honour that animal. And then to a City of Aphroditê, and, after this, to Latopolis, which holds in honour Athena and the latus;​235 and then to a City of Eileithuia​236 and a temple; and on the far side of the river lies a City of Hawks, which holds the hawk in honour;​237 and then to Apollonospolis, which also carries on war against the crocodiles.​c

48 As for Syenê​238 and Elephantinê, the former is a city on the borders of Aethiopia and Aegypt, and the latter is an island in the Nile, being situated in front of Syenê at a distance of half a stadium, and a city therein which has a temple of Cnuphis and, like Memphis, a nilometer. The nilometer is a well on the bank of the Nile constructed with close-fitting stones,​239 in which are marks showing the greatest, least, and mean rises of the Nile; for the water in the well rises and lowersº with the river. Accordingly, there are marks on the wall of the well, measures of the complete rises and of the others. So when watchers inspect these, they give out word to the rest of the people, so that they may know; for long beforehand they know from such signs and the days​240 what the future rise will be, and reveal it beforehand. This is useful, not only to the farmers with regard to the  p129 water-distribution, embankments, canals, and other things of this kind, but also to the praefects, with regard to the revenues; for the greater rises indicate that the revenues also will be greater. But in Syenê​241 is also the well that marks the summer tropic, for the reason that this region lies under the tropic circle and causes the gnomons to cast no shadow at midday; for if from our region, I mean that of Greece, we proceed towards the south, it is at Syenê that the sun first gets over our heads and causes the gnomons to cast no shadow at midday; and necessarily, when the sun gets over our heads, it also casts its rays into wells as far as the water, even if they are very deep; for we ourselves stand perpendicular to the earth and wells are dug perpendicular to the surface. And here are stationed three cohorts as a guard.

49 A little above Elephantinê is the little cataract, on which the boatmen exhibit a kind of spectacle for the praefects;​242 for the cataract is at the middle of the river, and is a brow of rock, as it were, which is flat on top, so that it receives the river, but ends in a precipice, down which the water dashes; whereas on either side towards the land there is a stream which generally can even be navigated up-stream. 818 Accordingly, the boatmen, having first sailed up-stream here, drift down to the cataract, are thrust along with the boat over the precipice, and escape  p131 unharmed, boat and all. A little above the cataract lies Philae, a common settlement of Aethiopians and Aegyptians, which is built like Elephantinê and is equal to it in size; and it has Aegyptian temples. Here, also, a bird is held in honour, which they call a hawk, though to me it appeared to be in no respect like the hawks in our country and in Aegypt, but was both greater in size and far different in the varied colouring of its plumage. They said that it was an Aethiopian bird, and that another was brought from Aethiopian bird, and that another was brought from Aethiopia whenever the one at hand died, or before. And in fact the bird shown to us at the time mentioned was nearly dead because disease.

50 We went to Philae from Syenê by wagon through an exceedingly level plain — a distance all told of about one hundred​243 stadia. Along the whole road on either side one could see in many places a stone like our Hermae;​244 it was huge, round, quite smooth, nearly sphere-shaped, and consisted of the black, hard stone from which mortars are made — a smaller stone lying on a larger, and on that stone again another.​245 Sometimes, however, it was only a single stone; and the largest was in diameter no less than twelve feet, though one and all were larger than half this measure. We crossed to the island on a pacton. The pacton is a small boat constructed of withes, so that it resembles woven-work;  p133 and though standing in water or seated on small boards, we crossed easily, being afraid without cause, for there is no danger unless the ferry-boat is over-laden.

51 Throughout the whole of Aegypt the palm tree is not of a good species; and in the region of the Delta and Alexandria it produces fruit that is not good to eat; but the palm tree in the Thebaïs is better than any of the rest. Now it is a thing worth marvelling at, that a country which is in the same latitude as Judaea and borders on it, I mean the country round the delta and Alexandria, differs so much, since Judaea, in addition to another palm, produces also the caryotic, which is somewhat better than the Babylonian. There are two kinds in the Thebaïs as well as in Judaea, both the caryotic and the other; and the Thebaïc date is harder, but more agreeable to the taste. There is also an island which is particularly productive of the best date, yielding a very large revenue for the praefects; for it used to be a royal possession, and no private individual shared in it, but it now belongs to the praefects.

52 Both Herodotus​246 and others talks much nonsense, adding to their account marvellous tales, to give it, as it were, a kind of tune or rhythm or relish; 819 as, for example, the assertion that the sources of the Nile are in the neighbourhood of the islands near Syenê and Elephantinê (of which there are several), and that at this place its channel has a bottomless depth. The Nile has very many islands scattered along its course, of which some are wholly covered at its risings and others only partly; but  p135 the exceedingly high parts of the latter are irrigated by means of screws.247

53 Now Aegypt was generally inclined to peace from the outset, because of the self-sufficiency of the country and of the difficulty of invasion by outsiders, being protected on the north by a harbourless coast and by the Aegyptian Sea, and on the east and west by the desert mountains of Libya and Arabia, as I have said;​248 and the remaining parts, those towards the south, are inhabited by Troglodytes, Blemmyes, Nubae, and Megabari, those Aethiopians who live about Syenê. These are nomads, and not numerous, or warlike either, though they were thought to be so by the ancients, because often, like brigands, they would attack defenceless persons. As for those Aethiopians who extend towards the south and Meroê, they are not numerous either, nor do they collect in one mass, inasmuch as they inhabit a long, narrow, and winding stretch of river-land, such as I have described before;​249 neither are they well equipped either for warfare or for any other kind of life. And now, too, the whole of the country is similarly disposed to peace. And the following is a sign of the fact: the country is sufficiently guarded by the Romans with only three cohorts, and even these are not complete; and when the Aethiopians dared to make an attack upon them, they imperilled their own country. The remaining Roman forces in Aegypt are hardly as large as these, nor have the Romans used them collectively even once; for neither are the Aegyptians themselves warriors, although they are very numerous, nor are the surrounding tribes. Cornelius Gallus, the first man appointed praefect of the country by Caesar, attacked  p137 Heroönpolis, which had revolted, and took it with only a few soldiers, and in only a short time broke up a sedition which had taken place in the Thebaïs on account of the tributes. And at a later time Petronius, when all that countless multitude of Alexandrians rushed to attack him with a throwing of stones, held out against them with merely his own body-guard, and after killing some of them put a stop to the rest. And I have already stated250 how Aelius Gallus, when he invaded Arabia with a part of the guard stationed in Aegypt, discovered that the people were unwarlike; indeed, if Syllaeus had not betrayed him, he would even have subdued the whole of Arabia Felix.

54 820 But the Aethiopians, emboldened by the fact that a part of the Roman force in Aegypt had been drawn away with aelius Gallus when he was carrying on war against the Arabians, attacked the Thebaïs and the garrison of the three cohorts at Syenê, and by an unexpected onset took Syenê and Elephantinê and Philae, and enslaved the inhabitants, and also pulled down the statues of Caesar. But Petronius, setting out with less than ten thousand infantry and eight hundred cavalry against thirty thousand men, first forced them to flee back to Pselchis, an Aethiopian city, and sent ambassadors to demand what they had taken, as also to ask the reasons why they had begun war; and when they said that they had been wronged by the Nomarchs,​251 he replied that these were not rulers of the country, but Caesar; and when they had requested three days for deliberation,  p139 but did nothing they should have done, he made an attack and forced them to come forth to battle; and he quickly turned them to flight, since they were badly marshalled and badly armed; for they had large oblong shields, and those too made of raw ox-hide, and as weapons some had only axes, others pikes, and others swords. Now some were driven together into the city, others fled into the desert, and others found refuge on a neighbouring island, having waded​252 into the channel, for on account of the current the crocodiles were not numerous there. Among these fugitive were the generals of Queen Candacê, who was ruler of the Aethiopians in my time — a masculine sort of woman, and blind in one eye. These, one and all, he captured alive, having sailed after them in both rafts and ships, and he sent them forthwith down to Alexandria; and he also attacked Pselchis and captured it; and if the multitude of those who fell in the battle be added to the number of the captives, those who escaped must have been altogether few in number. From Pselchis he went to Premnis, a fortified city, after passing through the sand-dunes, where the army of Cambyses was overwhelmed when a wind-storm struck them; and having made an attack, he took the fortress at the first onset. After this he set out for Napata. This was the royal residence of Candacê; and her son was there, and she herself was residing at a place near by. But though she sent ambassadors to treat for friendship and offered to give back the captives and the statues brought from Syenê, Petronius attacked and captured Nabata too, from which her son had fled, and rased it to the  p141 ground; and having enslaved its inhabitants, he turned back again with the booty, having decided that the regions farther on would be hard to traverse. But he fortified Premnis better, threw in a garrison and food for four hundred men for two years, and set out for Alexandria. As for the captives, he sold some of them as booty, 821 and sent one thousand to Caesar, who had recently returned from Cantabria; and the others died of diseases. Meantime Candacê marched against the garrison with many thousands of men, but Petronius set out to its assistance and arrived at the fortress first; and when he had made the place thoroughly secure by sundry devices, ambassadors came, but he bade them go to Caesar; and when they asserted that they did not know who Caesar was or where they should have to go to find him, he gave them escorts; and they went to Samos, since Caesar was there and intended to proceed to Syria from there, after despatching Tiberius to Armenia. And when the ambassadors had obtained everything they pled for, he even remitted the tributes which he had imposed.

The Editor's Notes:

147 i.e. by Necos (Diodorus Siculus 1.33.9), or Necho, who lost 120,000 men in the effort (Herodotus 2.158).

148 So Diodorus Siculus (1.33.9).

149 "Ptolemy II" (Diodorus Siculus 1.33.11).

150 "At the most advantageous place he built a cleverly contrived barrier" (Diodorus Siculus 1.33.11).

151 1.1.20 and 1.3.8 ff.

152 Strabo means the Aegyptian temples in general.

153 A sketch of the plan may be found in Tozer's Selections, p356; but cp. the sketch of the pronaos in the Corais-Letronneº edition.

154 Literally, "course" or "run."

155 The Aegyptian Anpu, worshipped as "Lord of the Grave."

156 Literally, "Front Gate"; but, like the Propylaea on the Acropolis at Athens, the propylum was a considerable building forming a gateway to the temple.

157 i.e. the temple proper.

158 i.e. front hall-room.

159 i.e. in the Etruscan tombs.

160 Hardly Chaeremon the Alexandrian philosopher and historian, as some think. Aelius Gallus made the voyage about 25 B.C., but that Chaeremon was a tutor of Nero after A.D. 49.

161 The Epitome reads "three years," and Diogenes Laertius (8.87) "sixteen months."

162 As stated in § 46 (below), they divided the year into twelve months of thirty days each, and at the end of the twelve months added five days (so Herodotus 2.4), and then at the end of every fourth year added another day. Diodorus Siculus (1.50), however, puts it thus: "They add five and one-fourth days to the twelve months and in this way complete the annual period."

163 Strabo's statement is too concise to be clear. He refers to certain Babylonian captives who, being unable to endure the hard work imposed upon them in Aegypt, revolted from the king, seized the stronghold along the river, and gained the concession in question after a successful war (Diodorus Siculus, 1.56.3).

164 i.e. to Babylon.

165 The pyramids of Gizeh, described by Herodotus (2.124 ff.) and Pliny (36.16).

166 According to Pliny (36.16), the pyramids were seven and one-half miles (i.e. sixty stadia) from Memphis.

167 On the "schoenus," see 17.1.24.

168 "He is black, and has on his forehead a triangular white spot and on his back the likeness of an eagle" (Herodotus 3.28). Pliny (8.71) says, "a crescent-like white spot on the right side."

169 Diodorus Siculus refers to "images made of one stone, both of himself (Sesostris) and of his wife, thirty cubits high, and of his sons, twenty cubits, in the temple of Hephaestus at Memphis."

170 Herodotus (2.112) refers to the temple of the "Foreign Aphroditê" at Memphis and identifies her with Helen; but see Rawlinson (vol. II, p157, footnote 9), who very plausibly identifies her with Astarte, the Phoenician and Syrian Aphroditê.

171 Goddess of the Moon.

172 Cheops.

173 Khafra.

174 i.e. "high up, approximately midway" (horizontally) "between the sides" (the two sides of the triangle which forms the northern face of the pyramid). This is the meaning of the Greek text as it stands; but all editors (from Casaubon down), translators, and archaeologists, so far as the present translator knows, either emend the text or misinterpret it, or both (see critical note). Letronne (French translation), who is followed by the later translators, insists upon "moderately" as the meaning of μέσως πως (translated above by "approximately midway between"), and erroneous quotes, as a similar use of μέσως πως, 11.2.18, where there is no MS. authority for πως, and translates: "elle a sur ses côtés, et à une élévation médiocre, une pierre qui peut s'ôter." The subsequent editors insert μιᾶς ("one") before τῶν πλευρῶν ("the sides"); and, following them, even Sir W. M. Flinders Petrie in his monumental work (The Pyramids and Temples of Gizeh, p168) translates: "The Greater (Pyramid), a little way up one side, has a stone that may be taken out." These interpretations accord with what are known facts; but so does the present interpretation, which also brings out two additional facts of importance: (1) It was hardly necessary for Strabo to state the obvious fact that the stone door was "moderately high up one side" of the pyramid (originally "about 55 feet vertically or 71 feet on the slope," according to a private letter from Petrie, dated Sept. 16, 1930), as compared with the height of the vertex (nearly 500 feet), or that the one door was on one side of the pyramid. What he means to say is that the door was literally high up as compared with the convenient position of an entrance close to the ground, knowing, as he did, that the Aegyptian chose a high position for it in order to keep secret the passage to the royal tombs; and, through his not unusual conciseness in such cases, he leaves the fact to be inferred. The wisdom of that secrecy is disclosed by the fact that when the Arabs, ignorant of the doorway, wished to enter the pyramid, they forced their way into it from a point near the ground through 100 feet of solid masonry, and thus by chance met the original sloping passage and discovered the original doorway. Moreover, this "movable stone," which was either a flap-door that worked on a stone pivot (Petrie l.c.) are a flat slab that was easily tilted up (Borchardt, Aegyptische Zeitschrift, XXXV.87), must have fitted so nicely when closed that no one unfamiliar with it could distinguish it. (2) "The sides" here must refer to the north-west and north-east edges of the pyramid, not to its northern face — much less all four faces — just as "sides" in the preceding sentence must mean the four sides of the base, not its plane surface. Hence, Strabo means that the doorway was purposely placed to one side of ("actually 24 feet," again according to Petrie's letter), and not at, a central point between the two edges above-mentioned, which is the fact in the case — a most important part of the ruse, as was later evidenced by the fact that the Arabs began to force their way into the pyramid at the centre (see the "Horizontal Section of the Great Pyramid" in Richard A. Proctor's The Great Pyramid, opposite p138). In short (1) μέσως πως cannot mean "moderately" in a matter of measurement (if indeed it ever means the same as μετρίως) and naturally goes with τῶν πλευρῶν, not ἐν ὑψει; and in fact some interpreters utterly ignore the πως. (2) The insertion of μιᾶς is not only unnecessary but eliminates two important observations.

The critical note to the Greek text ("ἔχει δ’ ἐν ὕψει μέσως πως τῶν πλευρῶν λίθον ἐξαιρέσιμον") reads:

Letronne conj. μιᾶς after πως; Groskurd, Meineke and others so read.

175 This passage "sloped steeply down through masonry and solid rock for 318 feet," passing through an unfinished vault (subterranean chamber) "46 feet long, 27 feet wide, and 10.6 feet high," and "ended in a cul-de‑sac," being "intended to mislead possible riflers of the" royal "tomb" above (Knight, l.c.). Petrie's translation of μέχρι τῆς θήκης ("to the very foundations," instead of "to the vault") is at least misleading. In the very next sentence Strabo refers to the "foundations" (θεμελίων). Since Strabo fails to mention the vaults of the king and the queen high above, the natural inference might be that he regarded the subterranean vault as the actual royal tomb; and in that case one might assume that the tombs were rifled, not by Augustus, but before his time, perhaps by the Persians.

176 Frag. 138 (Bergk) and Lyra Graeca, L. C. L., vol. I, p207 (Edmunds).

177 So Athenaeus, 13.68.

178 See Herodotus 2.134‑135.

179 Strabo was born at Amaseia in Pontus (Introduction, p. xvi).

180 i.e. "tufa."

181 Not in Strabo's Geography; perhaps in his History (see Vol. I, p47, note 1).

182 So Diodorus Siculus 1.56.4.

183 i.e. Mimosa Nilotica.

184 i.e. gum arabic.

185 See § 37 below.

186 In some countries, and generally in Asia, "the olives are beaten down by poles or by shaking the boughs, or even allowed to drop naturally, often lying on the ground until the convenience of the owner admits of their removal; much of the inferior oil owes its bad quality to the carelessness of the proprietor of the trees" (Encyc. Brit. s.v. "Olive").

187 See 16.2.30, 4.4, 4.18.

188 1.3.4, 13.

189 The reader will remember that Strabo was a Stoic philosopher (1.2.334).

190 Heaven is the outermost periphery, in which is situated everything that is divine (Poseidonius, quoted by Diogenes Laërtius, 7.138).

191 1.3.4, 12‑15.

192 On this lake, cp. Herodotus 2.149.

193 Cp. § 35 above.

194 Literally, "architects."

195 On this Labyrinth, cp. Herodotus 2.148, Diodorus Siculus 1.66.3, and Pliny 36.19.

196 See 17.1.3.

197 Perhaps an error for "Mandes." The name is spelled Ismandes in § 42 below. Diodorus says 'Mendes, whom some give the name Marrus." The real builder was Maindes, or Amon-em‑hat III, of the twelfth dynasty (Sayce, The Egypt of the Hebrews, p281).

198 For proposed restorations of the Labyrinth, see the Letronneº Edition, and Petrie (The Labyrinth, Gerzeh, and Mazghuneh, p28), and Myres (Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology, III, 134).

199 So in § 44 below.

200 "City of Dogs."

201 i.e. "sharp-snouted" (fish). A species of fish like our pike.

202 i.e. the Aegyptian jackal (Canis lupaster).

203 i.e. the dog-faced baboon (Simia hamadryas).

204 See 16.4.16 and footnote.

205 Mus araneus.

206 See §24 above, and 11.11.5.

207 Known as "Strabo's Well." See Petrie, The Osireion at Abydos, p2; and Naville, The Tomb of Osiris, London Times, March 6 and 17, 1914.

208 Spelled "Imandes" in §37 above (see footnote there).

209 See references in Index.

210 Cp. 2.1.5, 11.6.4, 15.1.2128.

211 i.e. at Didyma, near Miletus (14.1.5).

212 Iliad 1.528.

213 Literally, "although Apollo had deserted the oracle among the Branchidae."

214 11.11.4.

215 14.1.34.

216 On this temple, see Petrie, The Osireion at Abydos.

217 So in §39 above.

218 Cp. 13.1.14.

219 But the well-known Berenicê (now Suakim) was about as far from Myus Hormus (now Kosseir) as from Coptus (now Kench); see footnote 2, next page.

220 "City of Apollo."

221 Cp. 2.5.12.

222 Pliny (6.26), who speaks only of the route from Coptus to Berenicê, says that the distance was 257 Roman miles and required twelve days, and that one of the watering-places, Old Hydreuma ("Watering-place"), near Berenicê, could accommodate 2000 persons. Strabo seems to be confused on the subject, since (1) there were two distinct routes; (2) Myus Hormus and the well-known Berenicê were far apart (see footnote above); (3) the journey from Coptus to the latter required about twice as much time as that to the former (cp. Mahaffy, The Empire of the Ptolemies, pp135, 184, 395, 482), and (4) if Strabo was not thinking of a Berenicê near Myus Hormus, his "isthmus" has a very odd shape (see Map at end of volume).

223 Pliny (37.17) says that there are no fewer than twelve different kinds of smaragdus, and ranks the Aegyptian as third. The Aegyptian appears to have been a genuine emerald. For an account of the mines, see Encyc. Brit. s.v. "Emerald."

224 Luxor.

225 "City of Zeus."

226 Iliad 9.383.

227 Diodorus (1.45) puts the circuit of the city at 140 stadia.

228 See § 27 above and 10.3.21.

229 i.e. as reckoned from sunrise.

230 Perhaps an error for "And at Thebes" (see critical note).

The critical note to the Greek text ("ἐν δὲ τοῖς θήκαις") reads:

Meineke, following conjecture of Zoega (De Usu Obelisc. p169), which is approved by Kramer and Forbiger, emends θήκαις to Θήβαις.

231 One of these obelisks, which were erected by Rameses II, now stands in the "Place de la Concorde" at Paris, a gift to Louis XIV from Mehemet Ali.

232 i.e. each true "whole day" is 111460 days, and each true "whole year" is 3653651460, or 365¼ days. Hence they formed a period out of enough of these supernumerary fractions, when added together, to make one day: i.e. they intercalated a day every fourth year; a practice which later passed into the Julian Calendar. Cp. §29 (above) and footnote.

233 i.e. "virgin-priestesses," if the text is correct (see critical note). Diodorus Siculus (1.47.1) calls these maidens "pallacides (i.e. concubines) of Zeus."

The critical note to the Greek text ("παλλάδας") reads:

For παλλάδας Xylander conj. παλλακίδας (see Thesaurus, s.v. παλλακή.

234 i.e. until "menstruation."

235 See § 40 above.

236 The goddess of childbirth.

237 The hawk ("hierax"; see § 49 below) was sacred to Apollo, as was the eagle to Zeus (Aristophanes, Birds, 516).

238 Assuan.

239 Cp. the structure of the sewers at Rome (5.3.8).

240 i.e. apparently, from the times of the observations as compared with the readings of the meter (but see critical note).

The critical note to the Greek text ("ἐκ τῶν τοιούτων σημείων καὶ τῶν ἡμερῶν") reads:

For καὶ τῶν ἡμερῶν Casaubon conj. καὶ τεκμηρίων ("evidences"); Corais writes καὶ μέτρων ("measures"), Kramer approving.

241 So Pliny (2.75) and Arrian (Indica, 25.7); but in reality Syenê was slightly to the north of the tropic, its latitude being 24° 1´. The obliquity of the ecliptic in Eratosthenes' time was about 23° 44´, in Strabo's time about 23° 42´, and to‑day is about 23° 27´.

242 e.g. Aelius Gallus, whom Strabo accompanied.

243 Probably an error for "fifty," as Groskurd suggests (see critical note).

The critical note to the Greek text ("σταδίους ὁμοῦ τι ἑκατόν") reads:

For ἑκατόν (ρ´) Groskurd reads πεντήκοντα (ν´).

244 i.e. quadrangular pillar surmounted by a head or bust of Hermes, which were used as sign-posts of boundary-marks.

245 Pocock (Travels in Egypt, in Pinkerton's Voyages and Travels, vol. XV, p265), who saw some of these stones, says that they were rocks of red granite which had turned blackish on the outside; "a rock standing up like a pillar, and a large rock on it, hieroglyphics being cut on some of them."

246 2.28.

247 Cp. § 30 above.

248 Cp. § 4 above.

249 Cp. §§ 3 and 4 above.

250 16.4.23.

251 "Nome-rulers."

252 See critical note.

The critical note to the Greek text ("ἐμβάντας εἰς τὸν πόρον") reads:

For ἐμβάντας, Jones conf. ἐμβαλόντας.

Thayer's Notes:

a Mair's notes (69, 71, 73) on Oppian, Cyn. III.406 ff. collect the ichneumon passages in the classical authors.

b Now why would crocodiles be waving their open mouths to the breeze? This little lacuna in our explanation seems to have come to the attention of a later classical writer, to be picked up by Pliny, VIII.24 ( Latin English )

c Plut. Isis and Osiris, 371D.

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