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The dead are embalmed in honey for burial, and their dirges are like the dirges of Egypt. Whenever a Babylonian has had intercourse with his wife, they both sit before a burnt offering of incense, and at dawn they wash themselves; they will touch no vessel before this is done. This is the custom in Arabia also.
Beyond and above Heliopolis, Egypt is a narrow land. For it is bounded on the one side by the mountains of Arabia, which run north to south, always running south towards the sea called the Red Sea. In these mountains are the quarries that were hewn out for making the pyramids at Memphis. This way, then, the mountains run, and end in the places of which I have spoken; their greatest width from east to west, as I learned by inquiry, 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 among which are the pyramids; these are all covered with sand, and run in the same direction as those Arabian hills that run southward. Beyond Heliopolis, there is no great distance—in Egypt, that is:w(s ei)=nai ai)gu/ptou; so much of the Nile valley being outside Egypt. But it is possible that the words may mean “no great distance, for Egypt,” i.e. no great distance relatively to <
Now in Arabia, not far from Egypt, there is a gulf extending inland from the sea called RedThe “sea called Red,” it will be remembered, is the sea south and east of Arabia: the gulf entering in from it is our Red Sea. Suppose the Delta to have been once a gulf too, then there would have been two gulfs, both running up into Egypt, their heads not far from each other. , whose length and width are such as I shall show: in length, from its inner end out to the wide sea, it is a forty days' voyage Arabia: the gulf entering in from it is our Red Sea. Suppose the Delta to have been once a gulf too, then there would have been two gulfs, both running up into Egypt, their heads not far from each other. , whose length and width are such as I shall show: in length, from its inner end out to the wide sea, it is a forty days' voyage for a ship rowed by oars; and in breadth, it is half a day's voyage at the widest. Every day the tides ebb and flow in it. I believe that where Egypt is now, there was once another such gulf; this extended from the northern sea towards Aethiopia, and the other, the Arabian gulf of which I shall speak, extended from the south towards Syria; the ends of these gulfs penetrated into the country near each other, and but a little space of land separated them. Now, if the Nile inclined to direct its cu
Now if we agree with the opinion of the Ionians, who say that only the Delta is Egypt, and that its seaboard reaches from the so-called Watchtower of Perseus forty schoeni to the Salters' at Pelusium, while inland it stretches as far as the city of Cercasorus,At the southern point of the Delta, where the two main channels of the Nile divide, not far below Cairo. where the Nile divides and flows to Pelusium and Canobus, and that all the rest of Egypt is partly Libya and partly Arabia—if we follow this account, we can show that there was once no land 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 speak) came into being. Then if there was once no land for them, it was an idle notion that they were the oldest nation on earth, and they need not have made that trial to see what language the children would first speak. I maintain, rather, that the Egyptians did not come into existence togethe
There is another sacred bird, too, whose name is phoenix. I myself have never seen it, only pictures of it; for the bird seldom comes into Egypt: once in five hundred years, as the people of Heliopolis say. It is said that the phoenix comes when his father dies. If the picture truly shows his size and appearance, his plumage is partly golden and partly red. He is most like an eagle in shape and size. What they say this bird manages to do is incredible to me. Flying from Arabia to the temple of the sun, they say, he conveys his father encased in myrrh and buries him at the temple of the Sun. This is how he conveys him: he first molds an egg of myrrh as heavy as he can carry, then tries lifting it, and when he has tried it, he then hollows out the egg and puts his father into it, and plasters over with more myrrh the hollow of the egg into which he has put his father, which is the same in weight with his father lying in it, and he conveys him encased to the temple of the Sun in Egypt. T
There is a place in Arabia not far from the town of Buto where I went to learn about the winged serpents. When I arrived there, I saw innumerable bones and backbones of serpents: many heaps of backbones, great and small and even smaller. This place, where the backbones lay scattered, is where a narrow mountain pass opens into a great plain, which adjoins the plain of Egypt. Winged serpents are said to fly from Arabia at the beginning of spring, making for Egypt; but the ibis birds encounter thes of backbones, great and small and even smaller. This place, where the backbones lay scattered, is where a narrow mountain pass opens into a great plain, which adjoins the plain of Egypt. Winged serpents are said to fly from Arabia at the beginning of spring, making for Egypt; but the ibis birds encounter the invaders in this pass and kill them. The Arabians say that the ibis is greatly honored by the Egyptians for this service, and the Egyptians give the same reason for honoring these birds.