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The History of Herodotus, parallel English/Greek, tr. G. C. Macaulay, [1890], at

Herodotus Book 2: Euterpe [10]

10. Of this land then, concerning which I have spoken, it seemed to myself also, according as the priests said, that the greater part had been won as an addition by the Egyptians; for it was evident to me that the space between the aforesaid mountain-ranges, which lie above the city of Memphis, once was a gulf of the sea, like the regions about Ilion and Teuthrania and Ephesos and the plain of the Maiander, if it be permitted to compare small things with great; and small these are in comparison, for of the rivers which heaped up the soil in those regions none is worthy to be compared in volume with a single one of the mouths of the Nile, which has five mouths. Moreover there are other rivers also, not in size at all equal to the Nile, which have performed great feats; of which I can mention the names of several, and especially the Acheloös, which flowing through Acarnania and so issuing out into the sea has already made half of the Echinades from islands into mainland. 10. [1] ταύτης ὦν τῆς χώρης τῆς εἰρημένης ἡ πολλή, κατά περ οἱ ἱρέες ἔλεγον, ἐδόκεε καὶ αὐτῷ μοι εἶναι ἐπίκτητος Αἰγυπτίοισι. τῶν γὰρ ὀρέων τῶν εἰρημένων τῶν ὑπὲρ Μέμφιν πόλιν κειμένων τὸ μεταξὺ ἐφαίνετό μοι εἶναι κοτὲ κόλπος θαλάσσης, ὥσπερ γε τὰ περὶ Ἴλιον καὶ Τευθρανίην καὶ Ἔφεσόν τε καὶ Μαιάνδρου πεδίον, ὥς γε εἶναι σμικρὰ ταῦτα μεγάλοισι συμβαλεῖν· [2] τῶν γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ χωρία προσχωσάντων ποταμῶν ἑνὶ τῶν στομάτων τοῦ Νείλου, ἐόντος πενταστόμου, οὐδεὶς αὐτῶν πλήθεος πέρι ἄξιος συμβληθῆναι ἐστί. [3] εἰσὶ δὲ καὶ ἄλλοι ποταμοί, οὐ κατὰ τὸν Νεῖλον ἐόντες μεγάθεα, οἵτινες ἔργα ἀποδεξάμενοι μεγάλα εἰσί· τῶν ἐγὼ φράσαι ἔχω οὐνόματα καὶ ἄλλων καὶ οὐκ ἥκιστα Ἀχελῴου, ὃς ῥέων δι᾽ Ἀκαρνανίης καὶ ἐξιεὶς ἐς θάλασσαν τῶν Ἐχινάδων νήσων τὰς ἡμισέας ἤδη ἤπειρον πεποίηκε. 

11. Now there is in the land of Arabia, not far from Egypt, a gulf of the sea running in from that which is called the Erythraian Sea, very long and narrow, as I am about to tell. With respect to the length of the voyage along it, one who set out from the innermost point to sail out through it into the open sea, would spend forty days upon the voyage, using oars; and with respect to breadth, where the gulf is broadest it is half a day's sail across: and there is in it an ebb and flow of tide every day. Just such another gulf I suppose that Egypt was, and that the one ran in towards Ethiopia from the Northern Sea, and the other, the Arabian, of which I am about to speak, tended from the South towards Syria, the gulfs boring in so as almost to meet at their extreme points, and passing by one another with but a small space left between. If then the stream of the Nile should turn aside into this Arabian gulf, what would hinder that gulf from being filled up with silt as the river continued to flow, at all events within a period of twenty thousand years? indeed for my part I am of opinion that it would be filled up even within ten thousand years. How, then, in all the time that has elapsed before I came into being should not a gulf be filled up even of much greater size than this by a river so great and so active? 11. [1] ἔστι δὲ τῆς Ἀραβίης χώρης, Αἰγύπτου δὲ οὐ πρόσω, κόλπος θαλάσσης ἐσέχων ἐκ τῆς Ἐρυθρῆς καλεομένης θαλάσσης, μακρὸς οὕτω δή τι καὶ στεινὸς ὡς ἔρχομαι φράσων· [2] μῆκος μὲν πλόου ἀρξαμένῳ ἐκ μυχοῦ διεκπλῶσαι ἐς τὴν εὐρέαν θάλασσαν ἡμέραι ἀναισιμοῦνται τεσσεράκοντα εἰρεσίῃ χρεωμένῳ· εὖρος δέ, τῇ εὐρύτατος ἐστὶ ὁ κόλπος, ἥμισυ ἡμέρης πλόου. ῥηχίη δ᾽ ἐν αὐτῷ καὶ ἄμπωτις ἀνὰ πᾶσαν ἡμέρην γίνεται. [3] ἕτερον τοιοῦτον κόλπον καὶ τὴν Αἴγυπτον δοκέω γενέσθαι κοτέ, τὸν μὲν ἐκ τῆς βορηίης θαλάσσης κόλπον ἐσέχοντα ἐπ᾽ Αἰθιοπίης, τὸν δὲ Ἀράβιον, τὸν ἔρχομαι λέξων, ἐκ τῆς νοτίης φέροντα ἐπὶ Συρίης, σχεδὸν μὲν ἀλλήλοισι συντετραίνοντας τοὺς μυχούς, ὀλίγον δέ τι παραλλάσσοντας τῆς χώρης. [4] εἰ ὦν ἐθελήσει ἐκτρέψαι τὸ ῥέεθρον ὁ Νεῖλος ἐς τοῦτον τὸν Ἀράβιον κόλπον, τί μιν κωλύει ῥέοντος τούτου ἐκχωσθῆναι ἐντός γε δισμυρίων ἐτέων; ἐγὼ μὲν γὰρ ἔλπομαί γε καὶ μυρίων ἐντὸς χωσθῆναι ἄν· κοῦ γε δὴ ἐν τῷ προαναισιμωμένῳ χρόνῳ πρότερον ἢ ἐμὲ γενέσθαι οὐκ ἂν χωσθείη κόλπος καὶ πολλῷ μέζων ἔτι τούτου ὑπὸ τοσούτου τε ποταμοῦ καὶ οὕτω ἐργατικοῦ; 

12. As regards Egypt then, I both believe those who say that things are so, and for myself also I am strongly of opinion that they are so; because I have observed that Egypt runs out into the sea further than the adjoining land, and that shells are found upon the mountains of it, and an efflorescence of salt forms upon the surface, so that even the pyramids are being eaten away by it, and moreover that of all the mountains of Egypt, the range which lies above Memphis is the only one which has sand: besides which I notice that Egypt resembles neither the land of Arabia, which borders upon it, nor Libya, nor yet Syria (for they are Syrians who dwell in the parts of Arabia lying along the sea), but that it has soil which is black and easily breaks up, seeing that it is in truth mud and silt brought down from Ethiopia by the river: but the soil of Libya, we know, is reddish in colour and rather sandy, while that of Arabia and Syria is somewhat clayey and rocky. 12. [1] τὰ περὶ Αἴγυπτον ὦν καὶ τοῖσι λέγουσι αὐτὰ πείθομαι καὶ αὐτὸς οὕτω κάρτα δοκέω εἶναι, ἰδών τε τὴν Αἴγυπτον προκειμένην τῆς ἐχομένης γῆς κογχύλιά τε φαινόμενα ἐπὶ τοῖσι ὄρεσι καὶ ἅλμην ἐπανθέουσαν, ὥστε καὶ τὰς πυραμίδας δηλέεσθαι, καὶ ψάμμον μοῦνον Αἰγύπτου ὄρος τοῦτο τὸ ὑπὲρ Μέμφιος ἔχον, [2] πρὸς δὲ τῇ χώρῃ οὔτε τῇ Ἀραβίῃ προσούρῳ ἐούσῃ τὴν Αἴγυπτον προσεικέλην οὔτε τῇ Λιβύῃ, οὐ μὲν οὐδὲ τῇ Συρίῃ (τῆς γὰρ Ἀραβίης τὰ παρὰ θάλασσαν Σύροι νέμονται), ἀλλὰ μελάγγαιόν τε καὶ καταρρηγνυμένην, ὥστε ἐοῦσαν ἰλύν τε καὶ πρόχυσιν ἐξ Αἰθιοπίης κατενηνειγμένην ὑπὸ τοῦ ποταμοῦ. [3] τὴν δὲ Λιβύην ἴδμεν ἐρυθροτέρην τε γῆν καὶ ὑποψαμμοτέρην, τὴν δὲ Ἀραβίην τε καὶ Συρίην ἀργιλωδεστέρην τε καὶ ὑπόπετρον ἐοῦσαν. 

13. The priests also gave me a strong proof concerning this land as follows, namely that in the reign of king Moiris, whenever the river reached a height of at least eight cubits it watered Egypt below Memphis; and not yet nine hundred years had gone by since the death of Moiris, when I heard these things from the priests: now however, unless the river rises to sixteen cubits, or fifteen at the least, it does not go over the land. I think too that those Egyptians who dwell below the lake of Moiris and especially in that region which is called the Delta, if that land continues to grow in height according to this proportion and to increase similarly in extent, will suffer for all remaining time, from the Nile not overflowing their land, that same thing which they themselves said that the Hellenes would at some time suffer: for hearing that the whole land of the Hellenes has rain and is not watered by rivers as theirs is, they said that the Hellenes would at some time be disappointed of a great hope and would suffer the ills of famine. This saying means that if the god shall not send them rain, but shall allow drought to prevail for a long time, the Hellenes will be destroyed by hunger; for they have in fact no other supply of water to save them except from Zeus alone. 13. [1] ἔλεγον δὲ καὶ τόδε μοι μέγα τεκμήριον περὶ τῆς χώρης ταύτης οἱ ἱρέες, ὡς ἐπὶ Μοίριος βασιλέος, ὅκως ἔλθοι ὁ ποταμὸς ἐπὶ ὀκτὼ πήχεας τὸ ἐλάχιστον, ἄρδεσκε Αἴγυπτον τὴν ἔνερθε Μέμφιος· καὶ Μοίρι οὔκω ἦν ἔτεα εἰνακόσια τετελευτηκότι ὅτε τῶν ἱρέων ταῦτα ἐγὼ ἤκουον. νῦν δὲ εἰ μὴ ἐπ᾽ ἑκκαίδεκα ἢ πεντεκαίδεκα πήχεας ἀναβῇ τὸ ἐλάχιστον ὁ ποταμός, οὐκ ὑπερβαίνει ἐς τὴν χώρην. [2] δοκέουσί τέ μοι Αἰγυπτίων οἱ ἔνερθε λίμνης τῆς Μοίριος οἰκέοντες τά τε ἄλλα χωρία καὶ τὸ καλεόμενον Δέλτα, ἢν οὕτω ἡ χώρη αὕτη κατὰ λόγον ἐπιδιδῷ ἐς ὕψος καὶ τὸ ὅμοιον ἀποδιδῷ ἐς αὔξησιν, μὴ κατακλύζοντος αὐτὴν τοῦ Νείλου πείσεσθαι τὸν πάντα χρόνον τὸν ἐπίλοιπον Αἰγύπτιοι τὸ κοτὲ αὐτοὶ Ἕλληνας ἔφασαν πείσεσθαι. [3] πυθόμενοι γὰρ ὡς ὕεται πᾶσα ἡ χώρη τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἀλλ᾽ οὐ ποταμοῖσι ἄρδεται κατά περ ἡ σφετέρη, ἔφασαν Ἕλληνας ψευσθέντας κοτὲ ἐλπίδος μεγάλης κακῶς πεινήσειν. τὸ δὲ ἔπος τοῦτο ἐθέλει λέγειν ὡς, εἰ μὴ ἐθελήσει σφι ὕειν ὁ θεὸς ἀλλὰ αὐχμῷ διαχρᾶσθαι, λιμῷ οἱ Ἕλληνες αἱρεθήσονται· οὐ γὰρ δή σφι ἐστὶ ὕδατος οὐδεμία ἄλλη ἀποστροφὴ ὅτι μὴ ἐκ τοῦ Διὸς μοῦνον. 

14. This has been rightly said by the Egyptians with reference to the Hellenes: but now let me tell how matters are with the Egyptians themselves in their turn. If, in accordance with what I before said, their land below Memphis (for this is that which is increasing) shall continue to increase in height according to the same proportion as in past time, assuredly those Egyptians who dwell here will suffer famine, if their land shall not have rain nor the river be able to go over their fields. It is certain however that now they gather in fruit from the earth with less labour than any other men and also with less than the other Egyptians; for they have no labour in breaking up furrows with a plough nor in hoeing nor in any other of those labours which other men have about a crop; but when the river has come up of itself and watered their fields and after watering has left them again, then each man sows his own field and turns into it swine, and when he has trodden the seed into the ground by means of the swine, after that he waits for the harvest; and when he has threshed the corn by means of the swine, then he gathers it in.

14. [1] καὶ ταῦτα μὲν ἐς Ἕλληνας Αἰγυπτίοισι ὀρθῶς ἔχοντα εἴρηται· φέρε δὲ νῦν καὶ αὐτοῖσι Αἰγυπτίοισι ὡς ἔχει φράσω· εἴ σφι θέλοι, ὡς καὶ πρότερον εἶπον, ἡ χώρη ἡ ἔνερθε Μέμφιος (αὕτη γὰρ ἐστὶ ἡ αὐξανομένη) κατὰ λόγον τοῦ παροιχομένου χρόνου ἐς ὕψος αὐξάνεσθαι, ἄλλο τι ἢ οἱ ταύτῃ οἰκέοντες Αἰγυπτίων πεινήσουσι; εἰ μήτε γε ὕσεταί σφι ἡ χώρη μήτε ὁ ποταμὸς οἷός τ᾽ ἔσται ἐς τὰς ἀρούρας ὑπερβαίνειν. [2] ἦ γὰρ δὴ νῦν γε οὗτοι ἀπονητότατα καρπὸν κομίζονται ἐκ γῆς τῶν τε ἄλλων ἀνθρώπων πάντων καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν Αἰγυπτίων· οἳ οὔτε ἀρότρῳ ἀναρρηγνύντες αὔλακας ἔχουσι πόνους οὔτε σκάλλοντες οὔτε ἄλλο ἐργαζόμενοι οὐδὲν τῶν οἱ ἄλλοι ἄνθρωποι περὶ λήιον πονέουσι, ἀλλ᾽ ἐπεάν σφι ὁ ποταμὸς αὐτόματος ἐπελθὼν ἄρσῃ τὰς ἀρούρας, ἄρσας δὲ ἀπολίπῃ ὀπίσω, τότε σπείρας ἕκαστος τὴν ἑωυτοῦ ἄρουραν ἐσβάλλει ἐς αὐτὴν ὗς, ἐπεὰν δὲ καταπατήσῃ τῇσι ὑσὶ τὸ σπέρμα, ἄμητον τὸ ἀπὸ τούτου μένει, ἀποδινήσας δὲ τῇσι ὑσὶ τὸν σῖτον οὕτω κομίζεται. 

15. If we desire to follow the opinions of the Ionians as regards Egypt, who say that the Delta alone is Egypt, reckoning its sea-coast to be from the watch-tower called of Perseus to the fish-curing houses of Pelusion, a distance of forty schoines, and counting it to extend inland as far as the city of Kercasoros, where the Nile divides and runs to Pelusion and Canobos, while as for the rest of Egypt, they assign it partly to Libya and partly to Arabia,--if, I say, we should follow this account, we should thereby declare that in former times the Egyptians had no land to live in; for, as we have seen, their Delta at any rate is alluvial, and has appeared (so to speak) lately, as the Egyptians themselves say and as my opinion is. If then at the first there was no land for them to live in, why did they waste their labour to prove that they had come into being before all other men? They needed not to have made trial of the children to see what language they would first utter. However I am not of opinion that the Egyptians came into being at the same time as that which is called by the Ionians the Delta, but that they existed always ever since the human race came into being, and that as their land advanced forwards, many of them were left in their first abodes and many came down gradually to the lower parts. At least it is certain that in old times Thebes had the name of Egypt, and of this the circumference measures six thousand one hundred and twenty furlongs. 15. [1] εἰ ὦν βουλόμεθα γνώμῃσι τῇσι Ἰώνων χρᾶσθαι τὰ περὶ Αἴγυπτον, οἳ φασὶ τὸ Δέλτα μοῦνον εἶναι Αἴγυπτον, ἀπὸ Περσέος καλεομένης σκοπιῆς λέγοντες τὸ παρὰ θάλασσαν εἶναι αὐτῆς μέχρι Ταριχηίων τῶν Πηλουσιακῶν, τῇ δὴ τεσσεράκοντα εἰσὶ σχοῖνοι, τὸ δὲ ἀπὸ θαλάσσης λεγόντων ἐς μεσόγαιαν τείνειν αὐτὴν μέχρι Κερκασώρου πόλιος, κατ᾽ ἣν σχίζεται ὁ Νεῖλος ἔς τε Πηλούσιον ῥέων καὶ ἐς Κάνωβον, τὰ δὲ ἄλλα λεγόντων τῆς Αἰγύπτου τὰ μὲν Λιβύης τὰ δὲ Ἀραβίης εἶναι, ἀποδεικνύοιμεν ἂν τούτῳ τῷ λόγῳ χρεώμενοι Αἰγυπτίοισι οὐκ ἐοῦσαν πρότερον χώρην. [2] ἤδη γάρ σφι τό γε Δέλτα, ὡς αὐτοὶ λέγουσι Αἰγύπτιοι καὶ ἐμοὶ δοκέει, ἐστὶ κατάρρυτόν τε καὶ νεωστὶ ὡς λόγῳ εἰπεῖν ἀναπεφηνός. εἰ τοίνυν σφι χώρη γε μηδεμία ὑπῆρχε, τί περιεργάζοντο δοκέοντες πρῶτοι ἀνθρώπων γεγονέναι; οὐδὲ ἔδει σφέας ἐς διάπειραν τῶν παιδίων ἰέναι, τίνα γλῶσσαν πρώτην ἀπήσουσι. [3] ἀλλ᾽ οὔτε Αἰγυπτίους δοκέω ἅμα τῷ Δέλτα τῷ ὑπὸ Ἰώνων καλεομένῳ γενέσθαι αἰεί τε εἶναι ἐξ οὗ ἀνθρώπων γένος ἐγένετο, προϊούσης δὲ τῆς χώρης πολλοὺς μὲν τοὺς ὑπολειπομένους αὐτῶν γενέσθαι πολλοὺς δὲ τοὺς ὑποκαταβαίνοντας. τὸ δ᾽ ὦν πάλαι αἱ Θῆβαι Αἴγυπτος ἐκαλέετο, τῆς τὸ περίμετρον στάδιοι εἰσὶ εἴκοσι καὶ ἑκατὸν καὶ ἑξακισχίλιοι. 

16. If then we judge aright of these matters, the opinion of the Ionians about Egypt is not sound: but if the judgment of the Ionians is right, I declare that neither the Hellenes nor the Ionians themselves know how to reckon since they say that the whole earth is made up of three divisions, Europe, Asia, and Libya: for they ought to count in addition to these the Delta of Egypt, since it belongs neither to Asia nor to Libya; for at least it cannot be the river Nile by this reckoning which divides Asia from Libya, but the Nile is cleft at the point of this Delta so as to flow round it, and the result is that this land would come between Asia and Libya.

16. [1] εἰ ὦν ἡμεῖς ὀρθῶς περὶ αὐτῶν γινώσκομεν, Ἴωνες οὐκ εὖ φρονέουσι περὶ Αἰγύπτου· εἰ δὲ ὀρθή ἐστι ἡ γνώμη τῶν Ἰώνων, Ἕλληνάς τε καὶ αὐτοὺς Ἴωνας ἀποδείκνυμι οὐκ ἐπισταμένους λογίζεσθαι, οἳ φασὶ τρία μόρια εἶναι γῆν πᾶσαν, Εὐρώπην τε καὶ Ἀσίην καὶ Λιβύην. [2] τέταρτον γὰρ δή σφεας δεῖ προσλογίζεσθαι Αἰγύπτου τὸ Δέλτα, εἰ μήτε γε ἐστὶ τῆς Ἀσίης μήτε τῆς Λιβύης· οὐ γὰρ δὴ ὁ Νεῖλός γε ἐστὶ κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν λόγον ὁ τὴν Ἀσίην οὐρίζων τῇ Λιβύῃ, τοῦ Δέλτα δὲ τούτου κατὰ τὸ ὀξὺ περιρρήγνυται ὁ Νεῖλος, ὥστε ἐν τῷ μεταξὺ Ἀσίης τε καὶ Λιβύης γίνοιτ᾽ ἄν. 

17. We dismiss then the opinion of the Ionians, and express a judgment of our own in this matter also, that Egypt is all that land which is inhabited by Egyptians, just as Kilikia is that which is inhabited by Kilikians and Assyria that which is inhabited by Assyrians, and we know of no boundary properly speaking between Asia and Libya except the borders of Egypt. If however we shall adopt the opinion which is commonly held by the Hellenes, we shall suppose that the whole of Egypt, beginning from the Cataract and the city of Elephantine, is divided into two parts and that it thus partakes of both the names, since one side will thus belong to Libya and the other to Asia; for the Nile from the Cataract onwards flows to the sea cutting Egypt through the midst; and as far as the city of Kercasoros the Nile flows in one single stream, but from this city onwards it is parted into three ways; and one, which is called the Pelusian mouth, turns towards the East; the second of the ways goes towards the West, and this is called the Canobic mouth; but that one of the ways which is straight runs thus,--when the river in its course downwards comes to the point of the Delta, then it cuts the Delta through the midst and so issues out to the sea. In this we have a portion of the water of the river which is not the smallest nor the least famous, and it is called the Sebennytic mouth. There are also two other mouths which part off from the Sebennytic and go to the sea, and these are called, one the Saïtic, the other the Mendesian mouth. The Bolbitinitic and Bucolic mouths, on the other hand, are not natural but made by digging. 17. [1] καὶ τὴν μὲν Ἰώνων γνώμην ἀπίεμεν, ἡμεῖς δὲ ὧδε καὶ περὶ τούτων λέγομεν, Αἴγυπτον μὲν πᾶσαν εἶναι ταύτην τὴν ὑπ᾽ Αἰγυπτίων οἰκεομένην κατά περ Κιλικίην τὴν ὑπὸ Κιλίκων καὶ Ἀσσυρίην τὴν ὑπὸ Ἀσσυρίων, οὔρισμα δὲ Ἀσίῃ καὶ Λιβύῃ οἴδαμεν οὐδὲν ἐὸν ὀρθῷ λόγῳ εἰ μὴ τοὺς Αἰγυπτίων οὔρους. [2] εἰ δὲ τῷ ὑπ᾽ Ἑλλήνων νενομισμένῳ χρησόμεθα, νομιοῦμεν Αἴγυπτον πᾶσαν ἀρξαμένην ἀπὸ Καταδούπων τε καὶ Ἐλεφαντίνης πόλιος δίχα διαιρέεσθαι καὶ ἀμφοτερέων τῶν ἐπωνυμιέων ἔχεσθαι· τὰ μὲν γὰρ αὐτῆς εἶναι τῆς Λιβύης τὰ δὲ τῆς Ἀσίης. [3] ὁ γὰρ δὴ Νεῖλος ἀρξάμενος ἐκ τῶν Καταδούπων ῥέει μέσην Αἴγυπτον σχίζων ἐς θάλασσαν. μέχρι μέν νυν Κερκασώρου πόλιος ῥέει εἷς ἐὼν ὁ Νεῖλος, τὸ δὲ ἀπὸ ταύτης τῆς πόλιος σχίζεται τριφασίας ὁδούς. [4] καὶ ἣ μὲν πρὸς ἠῶ τρέπεται, τὸ καλέεται Πηλούσιον στόμα, ἡ δὲ ἑτέρη τῶν ὁδῶν πρὸς ἑσπέρην ἔχει· τοῦτο δὲ Κανωβικὸν στόμα κέκληται. ἡ δὲ δὴ ἰθέα τῶν ὁδῶν τῷ Νείλῳ ἐστὶ ἥδε· ἄνωθεν φερόμενος ἐς τὸ ὀξὺ τοῦ Δέλτα ἀπικνέεται, τὸ δὲ ἀπὸ τούτου σχίζων μέσον τὸ Δέλτα ἐς θάλασσαν ἐξιεῖ, οὔτε ἐλαχίστην μοῖραν τοῦ ὕδατος παρεχόμενος ταύτην οὔτε ἥκιστα ὀνομαστήν· τὸ καλέεται Σεβεννυτικὸν στόμα. [5] ἔστι δὲ καὶ ἕτερα διφάσια στόματα ἀπὸ τοῦ Σεβεννυτικοῦ ἀποσχισθέντα, φέροντα ἐς θάλασσαν· τοῖσι οὐνόματα κέεται τάδε, τῷ μὲν Σαϊτικὸν αὐτῶν τῷ δὲ Μενδήσιον. [6] τὸ δὲ Βολβίτινον στόμα καὶ τὸ Βουκολικὸν οὐκ ἰθαγενέα στόματα ἐστὶ ἀλλ᾽ ὀρυκτά. 

18. Moreover also the answer given by the Oracle of Ammon bears witness in support of my opinion that Egypt is of the extent which I declare it to be in my account; and of this answer I heard after I had formed my own opinion about Egypt. For those of the city of Marea and of Apis, dwelling in the parts of Egypt which border on Libya, being of opinion themselves that they were Libyans and not Egyptians, and also being burdened by the rules of religious service, because they desired not to be debarred from the use of cows' flesh, sent to Ammon saying that they had nought in common with the Egyptians, for they dwelt outside the Delta and agreed with them in nothing; and they said they desired that it might be lawful for them to eat everything without distinction. The god however did not permit them to do so, but said that that land which was Egypt which the Nile came over and watered, and that those were Egyptians who dwelling below the city of Elephantine drank of that river. Thus it was answered to them by the Oracle about this: 18. [1] μαρτυρέει δέ μοι τῇ γνώμῃ, ὅτι τοσαύτη ἐστὶ Αἴγυπτος ὅσην τινὰ ἐγὼ ἀποδείκνυμι τῷ λόγῳ, καὶ τὸ Ἄμμωνος χρηστήριον γενόμενον· τὸ ἐγὼ τῆς ἐμεωυτοῦ γνώμης ὕστερον περὶ Αἴγυπτον ἐπυθόμην. [2] οἱ γὰρ δὴ ἐκ Μαρέης τε πόλιος καὶ Ἄπιος, οἰκέοντες Αἰγύπτου τὰ πρόσουρα Λιβύῃ, αὐτοί τε δοκέοντες εἶναι Λίβυες καὶ οὐκ Αἰγύπτιοι καὶ ἀχθόμενοι τῇ περὶ τὰ ἱρὰ θρησκηίῃ, βουλόμενοι θηλέων βοῶν μὴ ἔργεσθαι, ἔπεμψαν ἐς Ἄμμωνα φάμενοι οὐδὲν σφίσι τε καὶ Αἰγυπτίοισι κοινὸν εἶναι· οἰκέειν τε γὰρ ἔξω τοῦ Δέλτα καὶ οὐδὲν ὁμολογέειν αὐτοῖσι, βούλεσθαί τε πάντων σφίσι ἐξεῖναι γεύεσθαι. [3] ὁ δὲ θεός σφεας οὐκ ἔα ποιέειν ταῦτα, φὰς Αἴγυπτον εἶναι ταύτην τὴν ὁ Νεῖλος ἐπιὼν ἄρδει, καὶ Αἰγυπτίους εἶναι τούτους οἳ ἔνερθε Ἐλεφαντίνης πόλιος οἰκέοντες ἀπὸ τοῦ ποταμοῦ τούτου πίνουσι. οὕτω σφι ταῦτα ἐχρήσθη. 

19. and the Nile, when it is in flood, goes over not only the Delta but also of the land which is called Libyan and of that which is called Arabian sometimes as much as two days' journey on each side, and at times even more than this or at times less.

As regards the nature of the river, neither from the priests nor yet from any other man was I able to obtain any knowledge: and I was desirous especially to learn from them about these matters, namely why the Nile comes down increasing in volume from the summer solstice onwards for a hundred days, and then, when it has reached the number of these days, turns and goes back, failing in its stream, so that through the whole winter season it continues to be low, and until the summer solstice returns. Of none of these things was I able to receive any account from the Egyptians, when I inquired of them what power the Nile has whereby it is of a nature opposite to that of other rivers. And I made inquiry, desiring to know both this which I say and also why, unlike all other rivers, it does not give rise to any breezes blowing from it.

19. [1] ἐπέρχεται δὲ ὁ Νεῖλος, ἐπεὰν πληθύῃ, οὐ μοῦνον τὸ Δέλτα ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῦ Λιβυκοῦ τε λεγομένου χωρίου εἶναι καὶ τοῦ Ἀραβίου ἐνιαχῇ καὶ ἐπὶ δύο ἡμερέων ἑκατέρωθι ὁδόν, καὶ πλέον ἔτι τούτου καὶ ἔλασσον. τοῦ ποταμοῦ δὲ φύσιος πέρι οὔτε τι τῶν ἱρέων οὔτε ἄλλου οὐδενὸς παραλαβεῖν ἐδυνάσθην. [2] πρόθυμος δὲ ἔα τάδε παρ᾽ αὐτῶν πυθέσθαι, ὅ τι κατέρχεται μὲν ὁ Νεῖλος πληθύων ἀπὸ τροπέων τῶν θερινέων ἀρξάμενος ἐπὶ ἑκατὸν ἡμέρας, πελάσας δὲ ἐς τὸν ἀριθμὸν τουτέων τῶν ἡμερέων ὀπίσω ἀπέρχεται ἀπολείπων τὸ ῥέεθρον, ὥστε βραχὺς τὸν χειμῶνα ἅπαντα διατελέει ἐὼν μέχρι οὗ αὖτις τροπέων τῶν θερινέων. [3] τούτων ὦν πέρι οὐδενὸς οὐδὲν οἷός τε ἐγενόμην παραλαβεῖν παρὰ τῶν Αἰγυπτίων, ἱστορέων αὐτοὺς ἥντινα δύναμιν ἔχει ὁ Νεῖλος τὰ ἔμπαλιν πεφυκέναι τῶν ἄλλων ποταμῶν· ταῦτά τε δὴ τὰ λελεγμένα βουλόμενος εἰδέναι ἱστόρεον καὶ ὅ τι αὔρας ἀποπνεούσας μοῦνος ποταμῶν πάντων οὐ παρέχεται. 

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