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There is little rain in Assyria. This nourishes the roots of the grain; but it is irrigation from the river that ripens the crop and brings the grain to fullness. In Egypt, the river itself rises and floods the fields; in Assyria, they are watered by hand and by swinging beams.That is, by the “shadoof,” a familiar object to travellers on the Nile; a lever with a bucket attached, revolving on a post. For the whole land of Babylon, like Egypt, is cut across by canals. The greatest of these is navigable: it runs towards where the sun rises in winter, from the Euphrates to another river, the Tigris, on which stood the city of Ninus. This land is by far the most fertile in grain which we know. It does not even try to bear trees, fig, vine, or olive, but Demeter's grain is so abundant there that it yields for the most part two hundred fold, and even three hundred fold when the harvest is best. The blades of the wheat and barley there are easily four fingers broad; and for millet and sesame
The response of oracle of Ammon in fact bears witness to my opinion, that Egypt is of such an extent as I have argued; I learned this by inquiry after my judgment was already formed about Egypt. The men of the cities of Marea and Apis, in the part of Egypt bordering on Libya, believing themselves to be Libyans and not Egyptians, and disliking the injunction of the religious law that forbade them to eat cows' meat, sent to Ammon saying that they had no part of or lot with Egypt: for they lived (they said) outside the Delta and did not consent to the ways of its people, and they wished to be allowed to eat all foods. But the god forbade them: all the land, he said, watered by the Nile in its course was Egypt, and all who lived lower down than the city Elephantine and drank the 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, as far as two days' journey from either bank in places, and sometimes more than this, sometimes less. Concerning its nature, I could not learn anything either from the priests or from any others. Yet I was anxious to learn from them why the Nile comes down with a rising flood for a hundred days from the summer solstice; and when this number of days is passed, sinks again with a diminishing stream, so that the river is low for the whole winter until the summer solstice again. I was not able to get any information from any of the Egyptians regarding thisformation from any of the Egyptians regarding this, when I asked them what power the Nile has to be contrary in nature to all other rivers. I wished to know this, and asked; also, why no breezes blew from it as from every other riverNot from the river itself, perhaps; but there is a regular current of air blowing up the valley..