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Herodotus, The Histories (ed. A. D. Godley), Book 2, chapter 158 (search)
Psammetichus had a son, Necos, who became king of Egypt. It was he who began building the canal into the Red Sea,This canal ran from near Tel Basta (Bubastis) apparently to Suez. Inscriptions recording Darius' construction of it have been found in the neighborhood. which was finished by Darius the Persian. This is four days' voyage in length, and it was dug wide enough for two triremes to move in it rowed abreast. It is fed by the Nile, and is carried from a little above Bubastis by the Arabian town of Patumus; it issues into the Red Sea. Digging began in the part of the Egyptian plain nearest to Arabia; the mountains that extend to Memphis (the mountains where the stone quarries are) come close to this plain; the canal is led along the foothills of these mountains in a long reach from west to east; passing then into a ravine, it bears southward out of the hill country towards the Arabian Gulf. Now the shortest and most direct passage from the northern to the southern or Red Sea is f