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[355] Pharos is really less than a mile from the seaboard of the Delta, and the rocky nature of the bars and shelves off the coast in that spot seem to preclude any theory of the advance of the land or the retreat of the sea (see Hdt.2. 179; Plut. de Isid. 40) to account for the distance to which Pharos is here removed. Cp.

Insula quondam
in medio stetit illa mari, sub tempore vatis
Proteos, at nunc est Pellaeis proxima muris.

It is suggested that “Αἴγυπτος” means the Canopic branch of the Nile, and that Naucratis is the station where Menelaus landed; but the simpler way of treating the passage is to regard it as a poetical adaptation of a current story, rather than to try and force it into accordance with actual topography. Dr. Hayman remarks, that the word “κικλήσκουσι” seems to imply the gossiping nature of the account. But κικλήσκειν is commonly used without any such connotation, as in Od.18. 6; 9.366. Cp. Strabo (17. 422) “ δὲ Φάρος νησίον ἐστὶ παραμηκὲς, προσεχέστατον τῇ ἠπείρῳ, λιμένα πρὸς αὐτὴν ποιοῦν ἀμφίστομον”. This agrees with the description given by Caesar (Bell. Civ.3. 112) ‘haec insula Alexandriae obiecta portum efficit,’ etc. But Strabo is ready to justify the Homeric description, “ γὰρ ἱστορῶν αὐτῷ περὶ τῆς Φάρου, μᾶλλον δὲ κοινὴ φήμη, διότι μὲν τότε τοσοῦτον ἀπεῖχεν ἀπὸ τῆς ἠπείρου, ὅσον φησὶ, δρόμον νεὼς ἡμερήσιον, οὐκ ἂν εἴη διατεθρυλημένη ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον ἐψευσμένως, ὅτι δὲ ἀνάβασις καὶ αἱ προσχώσεις τοιαῦταί τινες κοινότερον πεπύσθαι εἰκὸς ἦν. ἐξ ὧν συνθεὶς ποιητὴς ὅτι πλέον τότε ἀφειστήκει τῆς γῆς νῆσος κατὰ τὴν Μενελάου παρουσίαν, προσέθηκε παρ᾽ ἑαυτοῦ πολλαπλάσιον δίστημα τοῦ μυθώδους χάριν: αἱ δὲ μυθοποιίαι οὐκ ἀγνοίας χάριν”. The last words come very near the truth.

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