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 From the Catabathmus1 to Parætonium is a run of 900 stadia for a vessel in a direct course. There is a city and a large harbour of about 40 stadia in extent, by some called the city Parætonium,2 by others, Ammonia. Between these is the village of the Egyptians, and the promontory Ænesisphyra, and the Tyndareian rocks, four small islands, with a harbour; then Drepanum a promontory, and Ænesippeia an island with a harbour, and Apis a village, from which to Parætonium are 100 stadia; [from thence] to the temple of Ammon is a journey of five days. From Parætonium to Alexandreia are about 1300 stadia. Between these are, first, a promontory of white earth, called Leuce-Acte, then Phœnicus a harbour, and Pnigeus a village; after these the island Sidonia (Pedonia ?) with a harbour; then a little further off from the sea, Antiphræ. The whole of this country produces no wine of a good quality, and the earthen jars contain more sea-water than wine, which is called Libyan;3 this and beer are the principal beverage of the common people of Alexandreia. Antiphræ in particular was a subject of ridicule (on account of its bad wine). Next is the harbour Derrhis,4 which has its name from an adjacent black rock, resembling δέῤῥις, a hide. The neighbouring place is called Zephyrium. Then follows another harbour, Leucaspis (the white shield), and many others; then the Cynossema (or dog's monument); then Taposeiris, not that situated upon the sea; here is held a great public festival. There is another Taposeiris,5 situated at a considerable distance beyond the city (Alexandreia). Near this, and close to the sea, is a rocky spot, which is the resort of great numbers of people at all seasons of the year, for the purpose of feasting and amusement. Next is Plinthine,6 and the village of Nicium, and Cherronesus a fortress, distant from Alexandreia and the Necropolis about 70 stadia. The lake Mareia, which extends as far as this place, is more than 150 stadia in breadth, and in length less than 300 stadia. It contains eight islands. The whole country about it is well inhabited. Good wine also is produced here, and in such quantity that the Mareotic wine is racked in order that it may be kept to be old.7
1 Akabet el Kebira or Marsa Sollom.
2 Baretoun, or Berek-Marsa. ‘Alexander, after passing 1600 stadia through that part of the desert where water was to be found to Parætonium, then turned inland to visit the oracle of Ammon.’ Arrian, b. iii. § 3
3 ‘Wines which have been very carefully prepared with sea-water never cause head-aches.’ Athenœus, b. i. c. i. 59, p. 54. Bohn's Classical Library.
4 Cape Deras.
5 The exact site is not ascertained, but it was not far from Aboukir.
6 ‘Hellanicus says that the vine was first discovered in Plinthine, a city of Egypt,’ and that for those ‘who, on account of their poverty, could not get wine, there was introduced a custom of drinking beer made of barley.’ Athenœus, b. i. c. i. 61, p. 56. Bohn's Classical Library.
7 ‘The Mareotic wine is erroneously stated by Athenæus (p. 55. Bohn's
Classical Library) to have obtained its name from a fountain called
Marea. The fountain and town derived their name from Maro, who was
one of the companions of Bacchus.’ The wine is praised by Horace,
Odes I.xxxvii. 14:
“Mentemque lymphatam Mareotico
Redegit in veros timores.
” Virgil, Geor. ii. 91, calls a vine by this name: “Sunt Thasiæ vites, sunt et Mareotides albæ.”
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