previous next


One extraordinary thing which I saw at the pyramids must not be omitted. Heaps of stones from the quarries lie in front of the pyramids. Among these are found pieces which in shape and size resemble lentils.1 Some contain substances like grains half peeled. These, it is said, are the remnants of the workmen's food converted into stone; which is not probable.2 For at home in our country (Amasia), there is a long hill in a plain, which abounds with pebbles of a porus stone,3 resembling lentils. The pebbles of the sea-shore and of rivers suggest somewhat of the same difficulty [respecting their origin]; some explanation may indeed be found in the motion [to which these are subject] in flowing waters, but the investigation of the above fact presents more difficulty. I have said elsewhere,4 that in sight of the pyramids, on the other side in Arabia, and near the stone quarries from which they are built, is a very rocky mountain, called the Trojan mountain; beneath it there are caves, and near the caves and the river a village called Troy, an ancient settlement of the captive Trojans who had accompanied Menelaus and settled there.5

1 Niebuhr says, that in these stones are found small petrified substances in the form of lentils, which appear to be of the same kind of shell of which he collected several at Bushir. Clarke also says, that at the base of the pyramids a variety of calcareous stone is found in detached masses, exactly such as Strabo has described, and appear to be the petrified remains of some unknown animal. Forskal calls them ‘testacea fossilia kakiensia.’ Diodorus, as quoted above, says that there are no vestiges of fragments.

2 The translation follows Letronne's correction, ἐπέοικε for ἀπέοικε.

3 In the text λίθου πωρείας, Groskurd reads πωρίνου, which word occurs in Herod. v. 62, and translates it ‘tufstein.’

4 No passage is to be found in his Geography to this effect, it has either been lost from the text, or existed in his other works.

5 ‘It is said that the captives from Babylon revolted from the king (Sesostris), being unable to endure the sufferings to which they were exposed in the public works. They seized upon a strong place on the banks of the river, and maintained for some time a contest with the Egyptians, destroying the neighbouring district. At last, having obtained security from molestation, they made a regular settlement of the place, and called it Babylon, after their native city. Under similar circumstances, it is said, a place received the name of Troy which still exists on the banks of the Nile. For Menelaus, on his return from Troy with captives, came to Egypt. The Trojan captives revolted, took up a position, and carried on a war, until having obtained safety for themselves by treaty, they founded a city bearing the name of their native place.’ I am aware that Ctesias gives a different account of these cities, and says that some of the soldiers who accompanied Semiramis in her invasion of Egypt founded these cities, and gave to them the names of their native cities. Diod. Sic. i. 56.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1877)
hide References (8 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: