Now my friends and fellow-banqueters, what kingdom ever possessed such quantities of gold as this? For Egypt did not acquire all this by taking money from the Persians and from Babylon, or by working mines, or by having a river Pactolus, bearing down gold-dust in its waters. For its only river is that which can really be called the Golden Stream—the Nile, which together with its boundless supplies of food does bring down gold without alloy, which is dug up out of the soil without danger, in quantities sufficient for all men, diffused over the whole soil like the gifts of Triptolemus. On which account the Byzantine poet, who had the name of Parmeno given to him, says—
O god of Egypt, mighty Nile.But king Philadelphus surpassed most kings in riches; and he pursued every kind of manufacturing and trading art so zealously, that he also surpassed every one in the number of his ships. Now the largest ships which he had were these:— two of thirty banks of oars, one of twenty, four of thirteen, two of twelve, fourteen of eleven, thirty of nine, thirty-seven of seven, five of six, seventeen of five. And from quadriremes down to light half-decked triremes, for purposes of war, he had twice as many as all these put together. And the vessels which were sent to the different islands and to the other cities under his dominion, and to Libya, amounted to more than four thousand. And concerning the numbers of his books, and the way in which he furnished his libraries, and the way in which he collected treasures for his Museum, why need I speak? for every one remembers all these things.