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 Upon these inducements Gallus set out on the expedition. But he was deceived by Syllæus, the [king's] minister of the Nabatæans, who had promised to be his guide on the march, and to assist him in the execution of his design. Syllæus was however treacherous throughout; for he neither guided them by a safe course by sea along the coast, nor by a safe road for the army, as he promised, but exposed both the fleet and the army to danger, by directing them where there was no road, or the road was impracticable, where they were obliged to make long circuits, or to pass through tracts of country destitute of everything ; he led the fleet along a rocky coast without harbours, or to places abounding with rocks concealed under water, or with shallows. In places of this description particularly, the flowing and ebbing of the tide did them the most harm. The first mistake consisted in building long vessels [of war] at a time when there was no war, nor any likely to occur by sea. For the Arabians, being mostly engaged in traffic and commerce, are not a very warlike people even on land, much less so at sea. Gallus, notwithstanding, built not less than eighty biremes and triremes and galleys (phaseli) at Cleopatris,1 near the old canal which leads from the Nile. When he discovered his mistake, he constructed a hundred and thirty vessels of burden, in which he embarked with about ten thousand infantry, collected from Egypt, consisting of Romans and allies, among whom were five hundred Jews and a thousand Nabatæans, under the command of Syllæus. After enduring great hardships and distress, he arrived on the fifteenth day at Leuce-Come, a large mart in the territory of the Nabatæans, with the loss of many of his vessels, some with all their crews, in consequence of the difficulty of the navigation, but by no opposition from an enemy. These misfortunes were occasioned by the perfidy of Syllæus, who insisted that there was no road for an army by land to Leuce-Come, to which and from which place the camel-traders travel with ease and in safety from Petra, and back to Petra, with so large a body of men and camels as to differ in no respect from an army.
1 Called also Arsinoë, b. xvii. c. i. § 25. It was near Heroopolis, or Suez.
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