Herodotus Book II: The Nile

Chapter 1 & 2

After the death of Cyrus Cambyses inherited his throne. He was the son of Cyrus and Cassandane daughter of Pharnaspes, for whom, when she died before him, Cyrus himself mourned deeply and bade all his subjects mourn also. Cambyses was the son of this woman and Cyrus. He considered the Ionians and Aeolians as slaves inherited from his father, and prepared an expedition against Egypt, taking with him, with others subject to him, some of the Greeks over whom he held sway.

Now before Psammetichus became king of Egypt,1 the Egyptians deemed themselves to be the oldest nation on earth. But ever since he desired to learn, on becoming king, what nation was oldest, they have considered that, though they came before all other nations, the Phrygians are older still. Psammetichus, being nowise able to discover by inquiry what men had first come into being, devised a plan whereby he took two newborn children of common men and gave them to a shepherd to bring up among his flocks. He gave charge that none should speak any word in their hearing; they were to lie by themselves in a lonely hut, and in due season the shepherd was to bring goats and give the children their milk and do all else needful. Psammetichus did this, and gave this charge, because he desired to hear what speech  p277 would first break from the children, when they were past the age of indistinct babbling. And he had his wish; for when the shepherd had done as he was bidden for two years, one day as he opened the door and entered both the children ran to him stretching out their hands and calling “Bekos.” When he first heard this he said nothing of it; but coming often and taking careful note, he was ever hearing this same word, till at last he told the matter to his master, and on command brought the children into the king’s presence. Psammetichus heard them himself, and inquired to what language this word Bekos might belong; he found it to be a Phrygian word signifying bread. Reasoning from this fact the Egyptians confessed that the Phrygians were older than they. This is the story which I heard from the priests of Hephaestus’2 temple at Memphis; the Greeks relate (among many foolish tales) that Psammetichus made the children to be reared by women whose tongues he had cut out.

Chapter 3 - 5

Besides this story of the rearing of the children, I heard also other things at Memphis, in converse with the priests of Hephaestus; and I visited Thebes too and Heliopolis for this very purpose, because I desired to know if the people of those places would tell me the same tale as the priests at Memphis; for the people of Heliopolis are said to be the most learned of the Egyptians. Now, for the stories which I heard about the gods, I am not desirous to relate them, saving only the names of the deities; for I  p279 hold that no man knows about the gods more than another; and I will say no more about them than what I am constrained to say by the course of my history.

But as regarding human affairs, this was the account in which they all agreed: the Egyptians, he said, were the first men who reckoned by years and made the year to consist of twelve divisions of the seasons. They discovered this from the stars (so he said). And their reckoning is, to my mind, a juster one than that of the Greeks; for the Greeks add an intercalary month every other year, so that the seasons may agree; but the Egyptians, reckoning thirty days to each of the twelve months, add five days in every year over and above the number, and so the complete circle of seasons is made to agree with the calendar. Further, the Egyptians (said they) first used the appellations of twelve gods3 (which the Greeks afterwards borrowed from them); and it was they who first assigned to the several gods their altars and images and temples, and first carved figures on stone. They showed me most of this by plain proof. The first human king of Egypt, he said, was Min. In his time all Egypt save the Thebaic4 province was a marsh: all the country that we now see was then covered by water, north of the lake Moeris,5 which lake is seven days’ journey up the river from the sea.

And I think that their account of the country was true. For even though a man has not before been told it he can at once see, if he have sense, that that Egypt to which the Greeks sail is land acquired  p281 by the Egyptians, given them by the rivera — not only the lower country but even all the land to three days’ voyage above the aforesaid lake, which is of the same nature as the other, though the priests added not this to what he said. For this is the nature of the land of Egypt: firstly, when you approach to it from the sea and are yet a day’s run from land, if you then let down a sounding line you will bring up mud and find a depth of eleven fathoms. This shows that the deposit from the land reaches thus far.

Chapter 6 & 7

Further, the length of the seacoast of Egypt itself is sixty “schoeni,”6 that is of Egypt as we judge it to be, reaching from the Plinthinete gulf to the Serbonian marsh, which is under the Casian mountain; between these there is this length of sixty schoeni. Men that have scanty land measure by fathoms; those that have more, by furlongs; those that have much land, by parasangs; and those who have great abundance of it, by schoeni. The parasang is of thirty furlongs’ length, and the schoenus, which is an Egyptian measure, is of sixty.

By this reckoning then the seaboard of Egypt will be three thousand and six hundred furlongs in length. Inland from the sea as far as Heliopolis Egypt is a wide land, all flat and watery and marshy. From the sea up to Heliopolis it is a journey about as long as the way from the altar of the twelve gods at Athens to the temple of Olympian Zeus at Pisa. If a reckoning be made there will be seen to be but  p283 a little difference of length, not more than fifteen furlongs, between these two journeys; for the journey from Athens to Pisa is fifteen furlongs short of fifteen hundred, which is the tale of furlongs between the sea and Heliopolis.

phrygian_architectural_terracotta.300x0 is pid2799
king Psammetichus statue

king Psammetichus statue

Chapter 8

Beyond and above Heliopolis Egypt is a narrow land. For it is bounded on the one side by the mountains of Arabia, which bear from the north to the south, ever stretching southward towards the sea called the Red Sea. In these mountains are the quarries that were hewn out for the making of the pyramids at Memphis. This way then the mountains turn, and end in the places of which I have spoken; their greatest breadth from east to west, as I learnt, is a two months’ journey, and their easternmost boundaries yield frankincense. Such are these mountains. On the side of Libya Egypt is bounded by another range of rocky mountains, wherein are the pyramids; this is all covered with sand, and it runs in the same direction as those Arabian hills that bear southward. Beyond Heliopolis there is no great distance, that is, in Egypt;7 the narrow land has but a length of fourteen days’ journey up the river. Between the mountain ranges aforesaid the land is level, and where the plain is narrowest it seemed to me that there were no more than two hundred furlongs between the Arabian mountains and those that are called Libyan. Beyond this Egypt is a wide land again. Such is the nature of this country.

Chapter 9 & 10

From Heliopolis to Thebes it is nine days’ journey by river, and the distance is four thousand eight hundred and sixty furlongs, or eighty‑one schoeni. This then is a full statement of all the furlongs in Egypt: the seaboard is three thousand six hundred furlongs long; and I will now declare the distance inland from the sea to Thebes: it is six thousand one hundred and twenty furlongs. And between Thebes and the city called Elephantine there are eighteen hundred furlongs.

The greater portion, then, of this country whereof I have spoken (as the priests told me, and I myself formed the same judgment) land acquired by the Egyptians; all that lies between the ranges of mountains above Memphis to which I have referred seemed to me to have been once a gulf of the sea, just as the country about Ilion and Teuthrania and Ephesus and the plain of the Maeander, to compare these small things with great. For of the rivers that brought down the stuff to make these lands there is none worthy to be compared for greatness with one of the mouths of the Nile; and the Nile has five mouths. There are also other rivers, not so great as the Nile, that have wrought great effects; I could declare their names, but chief among them is Achelous, which, flowing through Acarnania and issuing into the sea, has already made half of the Echinades islands to be mainland.

Heliopolis, Amcient Egypt

Heliopolis, Amcient Egypt

Chapter 11 - 13

Now in Arabia, not far from Egypt, there is a gulf of the sea entering in from the sea called Red,8  p287 of which the length and narrowness is such as I shall show: for length, it is a forty days’ voyage for a ship rowed by oars from its inner end out to the wide sea; and for breadth, it is half a day’s voyage at the widest. Every day the tide ebbs and flows therein. I hold that where now is Egypt there was once another such gulf; one entered from the northern sea towards Aethiopia, and the other, the Arabian gulf of which I will speak, bore from the south towards Syria; the ends of these gulfs pierced into the country near to each other, and but a little space of land divided them. Now if the Nile choose to turn his waters into this Arabian gulf, what hinders that it be not silted up by his stream in twenty thousand years? nay, I think that ten thousand would suffice for it. Is it then to be believed that in the ages before my birth even much greater than this could not be silted up by a river so great and so busy?

Therefore, as to Egypt, I believe those who so speak, and I am myself fully so persuaded; for I have seen that Egypt projects into the sea beyond the neighbouring land, and shells are plain to view on the mountains and things are coated with salt (insomuch that the very pyramids are wasted thereby), and the only sandy mountain in Egypt is that which is above Memphis; moreover, Egypt is like neither to the neighbouring land of Arabia, nor to Libya, no, nor to Syria (for the seaboard of Arabia  p289 is inhabited by Syrians); it is a land of black and crumbling earth, as if it were alluvial deposit carried down the river from Aethiopia; but we know that the soil of Libya is redder and somewhat sandy, and Arabia and Syria are lands rather of clay and stones.

This too that the priests told me concerning Egypt is a strong proof; when Moeris was king, if the river rose as much as eight cubits, it watered all Egypt below Memphis.9 Moeris was not yet nine hundred years dead when I heard this from the priests. But now, if the river rise not at the least to sixteen or fifteen cubits, the land is not flooded. And to my thinking, the Egyptians who dwell lower down the river than the lake Moeris, and chiefly those who inhabit what is called the Delta — these, if thus this land of theirs rises in such proportion and likewise increases in extent, will (the Nile no longer flooding it) be ever after in the same plight which they themselves once said would be the case of the Greeks; for learning that all the Greek land is watered by rain, and not, like theirs, by river, he said that some day the Greeks would be disappointed in their high hopes, and miserably starve: signifying thereby that should it be heaven’s will to send the Greeks no rain and afflict them with drought, famine must come upon them, as receiving all this water from Zeus and having no other resource.

Nile river Ancient boat

Nile river Ancient boat

EGYPT AND THE NILE courtesy Cartography Unchained

EGYPT AND THE NILE courtesy Cartography Unchained

Chapter 14- 16

And this saying of the Egyptians about the Greeks was true enough. But now let me show what is the case of the Egyptians themselves: if (as I have already said) the country below Memphis — for it is this which rises — should increase in height in the same degree as formerly, will not the Egyptians who dwell in it go hungry, there being no rain in their country and the river being unable to inundate their fields? Now, indeed, there are no men, neither in the rest of Egypt, nor in the whole world, who gain from the soil with so little labour; they have not the toil of breaking up the land with the plough, nor of hoeing, nor of any other work which other men do to get them a crop; the river rises of itself, waters the fields, and then sinks back again; thereupon each man sows his field and sends swine into it to tread down the seed, and waits for the harvest; then he makes the swine to thresh his grain, and so garners it.

Now if we agree with the opinion of the Ionians,α namely that nothing but the Delta is Egypt, whereof the seaboard reaches, according to them, from what is called the watchtower of Perseus, forty schoeni to the salting factories of Pelusium, while inland it stretches as far as the city of Cercasorus,10 where the Nile divides and flows thence to Pelusium and Canobus (all the rest of Egypt being, they say, partly Libya and partly Arabia): if  p293 we follow this account, we can show that there was once no country for the Egyptians; for we have seen that (as the Egyptians themselves say, and as I myself judge) the Delta is alluvial land and but lately (so to say) come into being. Then if there was once no country for them, it was but a useless thought that they were the oldest nation on earth, and they needed not to make that trial to see what language the children would first utter. I hold rather that the Egyptians did not come into being with the making of that which Ionians call the Delta: they ever existed since men were first made; and as the land grew in extent many of them spread down over it, and many stayed behind. Be that as it may, the Theban province, a land of six thousand one hundred and twenty furlongs in circuit, was of old called Egypt.

If then our judgment of this be right, the Ionians are in error concerning Egypt; but if their opinion be right, then it is plain that they and the rest of the Greeks cannot reckon truly, when they divide the whole earth into three parts, Europe, Asia, and Libya; they must add to these yet a fourth part, the Delta of Egypt, if it belong neither to Asia nor to Libya; for by their showing the Nile is not the river that separates Asia and Libya; the Nile divides at the extreme angle of this Delta, so that this land must be between Asia and Libya.

Chapter 17 - 19

Nay, we put the Ionians’ opinion aside; and our own judgment concerning the matter is this: Egypt is all that country which is inhabited by  p295 Egyptians, even as Cilicia and Assyria are the countries inhabited by Cilicians and Assyrians severally; and we know of no frontier (rightly so called) below Asia and Libya save only the borders of the Egyptians. But if we follow the belief of the Greeks, we shall consider all Egypt, down from the Cataracts and the city Elephantine,11 to be divided into two parts, and to claim both the names, the one part belonging to Libya and the other to Asia. For the Nile, beginning from the Cataracts, divides Egypt into two parts as it flows to the sea. Now as far as the city Cercasorus the Nile flows in one channel, but after that it parts into three. One of these, which is called the Pelusian mouth, flows eastwards; the second flows westwards, and is called the Canobic mouth. But the direct channel of the Nile, when the river in its downward course reaches the sharp point of the Delta, flows thereafter clean through the middle of the Delta into the sea; in this is seen the greatest and most famous part of its waters, and it is called the Sebennytic mouth. There are also two channels which separate themselves from the Sebennytic and so flow into the sea, by name the Saïte and the Mendesian. The Bolbitine and Bucolic mouths are not natural but dug channels.

My opinion, that the extent of Egypt is such as my argument shows, is attested by the answer which (my judgment being already formed) I heard to have been given concerning Egypt by the oracle of Ammon. The men of the cities of Marea and  p297 Apis, in the part of Egypt bordering on Libya, thinking themselves to be not Egyptians but Libyans, and misliking the observance of the religious law which forbade them to eat cows’ flesh, sent to Ammon saying that they had no part or lot with Egypt; for they dwelt (said they) outside the Delta and did not consent to the ways of its people, and they wished to be suffered to eat of all foods. But the god forbade them: all the land, he said, watered by the Nile in its course was Egypt, and all who dwelt lower than the city Elephantine and drank of that river’s water were Egyptians. Such was the oracle given to them.

When the Nile is in flood, it overflows not only the Delta but also the lands called Libyan and Arabian, in places as far as two days’ journey from either bank, and sometimes more than this, sometimes less. Concerning its nature, neither from the priests nor from any others could I learn anything. Yet I was zealous to hear from them why it is that the Nile comes with a rising flood for an hundred days from the summer solstice, and when this tale of days is complete sinks again with a diminishing stream, so that the river is low for the whole winter till the summer solstice again. Concerning this matter none of the Egyptians could tell me anything, when I asked them what power the Nile has to be contrary in nature to all other rivers. Of the matters aforesaid I wished to know, and asked; also why no airs blow from it as from every other stream.

Blue nile
Naqa, Relief of king Amanitenmemide of Meroe

Naqa, Relief of king Amanitenmemide of Meroe

Chapter 20 - 24

But some of the Greeks, wishing to be notable for cleverness, put forward three opinions about this river; of which there are two that I would not even mention, save to show only what they are. One of these will have it that the etesian winds13 are the cause of the rivers being in flood, because they hinder the Nile from flowing out into the sea. But there are many times when the etesian winds do not blow, yet the Nile does the same as before. And further, if the etesian winds were the cause, then the other rivers which flow contrary to those winds would be affected in like manner even as is the Nile, and all the more, inasmuch as being smaller they have a weaker current. Yet there are many rivers in Syria and in Libya, which are nowise in the same case as the Nile.

The second opinion is less grounded on knowledge than that afore-mentioned, though it is more marvellous to the ear: by it, the river effects what it does because it flows from the Ocean, which flows round all the world.

The third opinion is the most plausible by far, yet is of all the most in error. It has no more truth in it than the others. According to this, the Nile flows from where snows melt; but it flows from Libya through the midst of Ethiopia, and issues out into Egypt; how then can it flow from snow, seeing that it comes from the hottest places to lands that are for the most part colder? nay, a man who can reason about such matters will find his chief proof, that there is no likelihood of the river’s flowing from snow, in this — that the winds blowing from Libya and  p301 Ethiopia are hot. And the second proof is, that the country is ever without rain and frost; but after snow has fallen there must needs be rain within five days;14 so that were there snow there would be rain in these lands. And the third proof is, that the men of the country are black by reason of the heat. Moreover, kites and swallows live there all the year round, and cranes, flying from the wintry weather of Scythia, come every year to these places to winter there. Now, were there but the least fall of snow in this country through which the Nile flows and whence it rises, none of these things would happen, as necessity proves.

The opinion about the Ocean is grounded in obscurity and needs no disproof; for I know of no river of Ocean; and I suppose that Homer or some older poet invented this name and brought it into his poetry.

If, having condemned the opinions proposed, I must now set forth what I myself think about these obscure matters, I will show what I suppose to be the cause of the Nile being in flood in the summer. During the winter the sun is driven by the storms from his customary course and passes over the inland parts of Libya. Now to make the shortest conclusion, that is all that need be said; for to whatever country this god is nearest, or over it, it is to be thought that that land is the thirstiest and that the rivers in it are diminished.

Chapter 25 - 27

But stated at greater length, the truth is as I shall show. In his passage over the inland parts of Libya — the air being ever clear in that region, the  p303 land warm and the winds cool — the sun does what he was wont to do in the summer in passing through the middle of the heaven: he draws the water to himself, and having so drawn it, expels it away to the inland regions, and the winds catch it and scatter and dissolve it; and, as is to be supposed, those that blow from that country, the south and the south-west, are the most rainy of all winds. Yet I think that the sun never lets go all the water that he yearly draws up from the Nile, but keeps some back near to himself. Then as the winter becomes milder, the sun returns back to the middle of the heaven, and after that he draws from all rivers alike. Meantime the other rivers are swollen to high flood by the much water from the sky that falls into them, because the country is rained upon and cut into gullies; but in the summer they are low, lacking the rain and being drawn up too by the sun. But the Nile being fed by no rain, and being the only river in winter drawn up by the sun, at this time falls far short of the height that he had in summer; which is but natural; for in summer all other waters too and not his alone are attracted to the sun, but in the winter it is he alone who is afflicted.

I am persuaded therefore that the sun is the cause of these matters. The dryness of the air in these parts is also caused by the sun, to my thinking, because he burns his passage through it; so it is that it is always summer in the inland part of Libya. But were the stations of the seasons changed, so that the south wind and the summer had their station where now the north wind and winter are set, and the north wind where the south wind is  p305 now, — if this were so, the sun when driven from mid‑heaven by the winter and the north wind would pass over the inland parts of Europe as he now passes over Libya, and I think that in his passage over all Europe he would work the same effect on the Ister as he now does on the Nile.

And for the reason why no air blows from the river, this is my opinion: it is not natural that any air blow from very hot places; airs ever come from that which is very cold.

Chapter 28 & 29

Be these matters, then, as they are and as they were made to be in the beginning. But as to the sources of the Nile, none that conversed with me, whether Egyptian, nor Libyan, nor Greek, professed to know them, except only the recorder of the sacred treasures of Athene in the Egyptian city of Sais. He, I thought, jested with me when he said that he had exact knowledge; but this was his story: — Between the city of Syene in the Thebaid and Elephantine there are two hills with sharp peaks, the one called Crophi and the other Mophi. The springs of the Nile, which are unfathomed, rise between these hills; and half the water flows towards Egypt northwards, the other half southwards towards Ethiopia. That this source cannot be fathomed, Psammetichus king of Egypt proved by experiment: for he had a rope woven of many a thousand fathoms’ length and let down into the spring, but he could not reach to the bottom. Thus, then, if the recorder spoke truth, he showed, as I think, that here are  p307 strong eddies and an upward flow of water, and the rushing of the stream against the hills makes the sounding-line when let down unable to reach the bottom.

From no other man could I learn anything. But this much I learnt by the farthest inquiry that I could make, by my own travel and sight as far as the city of Elephantine, and beyond that by question and hearsay: — Beyond Elephantine, as one travels inland, the land rises. Here one must pass with the boat roped on both sides as men harness an ox; and if the rope break, the boat is carried away by the strength of the current. This part of the river is a four days’ journey by boat, and the Nile here is winding like the Maeander; a length of twelve schoeni must be passed in the aforesaid fashion. After that you will come to a level plain, where there is an island in the Nile, called Tachompso. Above Elephantine the country now begins to be inhabited by Ethiopians, and half the people of the island are Ethiopians and half Egyptians. Near to the island is a great lake, on the shores of which dwell nomad Ethiopians. Having crossed this, you will come to the stream of the Nile, which issues into this lake. Then you will disembark and journey along the river bank for forty days; for there are sharp projecting rocks in the Nile and many reefs, through which no boat can pass. Having traversed this part in forty days as I have said, you will take boat again and so travel for twelve days till you come to a great city called Meroe, which is said to be the capital of all Ethiopia. The  p309 people of the place worship no other gods but Zeus and Dionysus;15 these they greatly honour, and they have a place of divination sacred to Zeus; they send out armies whenever and whithersoever this god by oracle commands them.16

Chapter 30 & 31

From this city you will make a journey by water of equal distance with that by which you came from Elephantine to the capital city of Ethiopia, and you will come to the land of the Deserters. These Deserters are called Asmach, which signifies, in our language, those who stand on the left hand of the king. These once, to the number of two hundred and forty thousand Egyptians of fighting age, revolted and joined themselves to the Ethiopians. The reason was this: — In the reign of Psammetichus there were garrisons posted at Elephantine on the side of Ethiopia, at Daphnae of Pelusium on the side of Arabia and Assyria, and at Marea on the side of Libya. And still in my time the Persians hold these posts as they were held in the days of Psammetichus; there are Persian guards at Elephantineβ and at Daphnae. Now the Egyptians had been on guard for three years, and none came to relieve them; so taking counsel and making common cause, they revolted from Psammetichus and went to Ethiopia. Psammetichus heard of it and pursued after them; and when he overtook them he besought them with many words not to desert the gods of their fathers and their children and wives. Then one of them, so the story goes, said, pointing to his manly part,  p311 that where this should be they would have wives and children. So they came to Ethiopia, and gave themselves up to the king of the country; who, to make them a gift in return, bade them dispossess certain Ethiopians with whom he was at feud, and occupy their land. These Ethiopians then learnt Egyptian customs and have become milder-mannered by intermixture with the Egyptians.

 For as far as a distance of four months’ travel, then, by land and water, there is knowledge of the Nile, besides the part of it that is in Egypt. So many months, as reckoning shows, lasts the journey from Elephantine to the country of the Deserters aforesaid. The river flows from the west and the sun’s setting. Beyond this none has clear knowledge to declare; for all that country is desert, by reason of heat.

Chapter 32 -34

But this I heard from certain men of Cyrene, who told me that they had gone to the oracle of Ammon, and there conversed with Etearchus king of the Ammonians, and that from other matters of discourse they came to speak of the Nile, how no one knows the source of it. Then Etearchus told them that once he had been visited by certain Nasamonians. These are a Libyan people, inhabiting the country of the Syrtis and the country a little way to the east of the Syrtis. When these Nasamonians on their coming were questioned if they brought any news concerning the Libyan desert, they told Etearchus that there had been among them certain sons of their chief men, proud and violent youths, who, when they came to man’s estate, besides planning other wild adventures, had chosen by lot five of their company to visit the deserts of Libya, and see what they might beyond the utmost range of travellers. It must be known  p313 that all the northern seacoast of Libya — from Egypt as far as the promontory of Soloeis, which is the end of Libya — is inhabited through its whole length by Libyans, many tribes of them, except the part held by Greeks and Phoenicians; the region of Libya above the sea and the men of the seacoast is infested by wild beasts; and farther inland than the wild-beast country all is sand, exceeding waterless and wholly desert. This then was the story told by the young men: — When they left their companions, being well supplied with water and provisions, they journeyed first through the inhabited country, and having passed this they came to the region of wild beasts. After this, they travelled over the desert, towards the west, and crossed a wide sandy region, till after many days they saw trees growing in a plain; when they came to these and were plucking the fruit of the trees, they were met by little men of stature smaller than common, who took them and led them away. The Nasamonians did not know these men’s language nor did the escort know the language of the Nasamonians. The men led them across great marshes, which having crossed they came to a city where all the people were of like stature with the escort, and black. A great river ran past this city, from the west towards the rising sun; crocodiles could be seen in it.b

WThis is enough to say concerning the story told by Etearchus the Ammonian; except that he said that Nasamonians returned — as the men of Cyrene told me — and that the people to whose  country they came were all wizards; as to the river that ran past the city, Etearchus guessed it to be the Nile; and that is but reasonable. For the Nile flows from Libya, and right through the midst of that country; and as I guess, reasoning as to things unknown from visible signs, it takes its rise from the same measure of distance as the Ister.17 That river flows from the land of the Celtae and the city of Pyrene through the very midst of Europe; now the Celtae dwell beyond the pillars of Heracles, being neighbours of the Cynesii, who are the westernmost of all nations inhabiting Europe. The Ister, then, flows clean across Europe and ends its course in the Euxine sea, at Istria, which is inhabited by Milesian colonists.

As it flows through inhabited country, its course is known to many; but none can speak of the source of the Nile; for Libya, through which it runs, is uninhabited and desert. Concerning its course I have told all that I could learn by inquiry; and it issues into Egypt. Now Egypt lies about opposite to the mountainous part of Cilicia; whence it is a straight five days’ journey for an unburdened man to Sinope on the Euxine; and Sinope lies over against the place where the Ister falls into the sea. Thus I suppose the course of the Nile in its passage through Libya to be like the course of the Ister.

It is sufficient to say thus much concerning the Nile. 


To be Continued