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Besides the want of provisions, the scorching heat was distressing, as also the deep and burning sand. In some places there were sand-hills, so that in addition to the difficulty of lifting the legs, as out of a pit, there were ascents and descents. It was necessary also, on account of the watering places, to make long marches of two, four, and sometimes even of six hundred stadia, for the most part during the night. Frequently the encampment was at a distance of 30 stadia from the watering places, in order that the soldiers might not be induced by thirst to drink to excess. For many of them plunged into the water in their armour, and continued drinking until they were drowned; when swollen after death they floated, and corrupted the shallow water of the cisterns. Others, exhausted by thirst, lay exposed to the sun, in the middle of the road. They then became tremulous, their hands and their feet shook, and they died like persons seized with cold and shivering. Some turned out of the road to indulge in sleep, overcome with drowsiness and fatigue; some were left behind, and perished, being ignorant of the road, destitute of everything, and overpowered by heat. Others escaped after great sufferings. A torrent of water, which fell in the night time, overwhelmed and destroyed many persons, and much baggage; a great part even of the royal equipage was swept away.

The guides, through ignorance, deviated so far into the interior, that the sea was no longer in sight. The king, perceiving the danger, immediately set out in search of the coast; when he had discovered it, and by sinking wells had found water fit for drinking, he sent for the army: afterwards he continued his march for seven days near the shore, with a good supply of water. He then again returned into the interior.

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