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Joining on to Africa is Asia, the extent of which, according to Timosthenes, from the Canopic mouth of the Nile to the mouth of the Euxine, is 2639 miles. From the mouth of the Euxine to that of Lake Mæotis is, according to Eratosthenes, 1545 miles. The whole distance to the Tanais, including Egypt, is, according to Artemidorus and Isidorus, 63751 miles. The seas of Egypt, which are several in number, have received their names from those who dwell upon their shores, for which reason they will be mentioned together.

Egypt is the country which lies next to Africa; in the interior it runs in a southerly direction, as far as the territory of the Æthiopians, who lie extended at the back of it. The river Nile, dividing itself, forms on the right and left the boundary of its lower part, which it embraces on every side2. By the Canopic mouth of that river it is separated from Africa, and by the Pelusiac from Asia, there being a distance between the two of 170 miles. For this reason it is that some persons have reckoned Egypt among the islands, the Nile so dividing itself as to give a triangular form to the land which it encloses: from which circumstance also many persons have named Egypt the Delta3, after that of the Greek letter so called. The distance from the spot where the channel of the river first divides into branches, to the Canopic mouth, is 146 miles, and to the Pelusiac, 166.

The upper part of Egypt, which borders on Æthiopia, is known as Thebais. This district is divided into prefectures of towns, which are generally designated as "Nomes." These are Ombites4, Apollopolites5, Hermonthites6, Thinites7, Phaturites8, Coptites9, Tentyrites10, Diopolites11, An- tæopolites12, Aphroditopolites13, and Lycopolites14. The district which lies in the vicinity of Pelusium contains the following Nomes, Pharbæthites, Bubastites15, Sethroites, and Tanites16. The remaining Nomes are those called the Arabian; the Hammonian, which lies on the road to the oracle of Jupiter Hammon; and those known by the names of Oxyrynchites, Leontopolites, Athribites17, Cynopolites18, Hermopolites19, Xoites, Mendesim, Sebennytes20, Cabasites, Latopolites, Heliopolites, Prosopites, Panopolites, Busirites21, Onuphites22, Saïtes23, Ptenethu, Phthemphu24, Naucratites25, Metelites, Gynæcopolites, Menelaites,—all in the region of Alexandria, besides Mareotis in Libya.

Heracleopolites26 is a Nome on an island27 of the Nile, fifty miles in length, upon which there is a city, called the 'City of Hercules.' There are two places called Arsinoïtes28: these and Memphites29 extend to the apex30 of the Delta; adjoining to which, on the side of Africa, are the two Nomes of Oasites31. Some writers vary in some of these names and substitute for them other Nomes, such as Heroöpolites32 and Crocodilopolites33. Between Arsinoïtes and Memphites, a lake34, 250 miles, or, according to what Mucianus says, 450 miles in circumference and fifty paces deep, has been formed by artificial means: after the king by whose orders it was made, it is called by the name of Mœris. The distance from thence to Memphis is nearly sixty-two miles, a place which was formerly the citadel of the kings of Egypt; from thence to the oracle of Hammon it is twelve days' journey. Memphis is fifteen miles from the spot where the river Nile divides into the different channels which we have mentioned as forming the Delta.

1 It is not improbable that these numbers are incorrectly stated in the MSS. of our author.

2 Parisot remarks that Pliny is in error in this statement. A considerable part of Lower Egypt lay both on the right and left of the Delta or island formed by the branches of the Nile. It must be remembered, however, that our author has already included a portion of what was strictly Egypt, in his description of Libya Mareotis.

3 By reason of its triangular form, δ.

4 The Ombite nome worshipped the crocodile as the emblem of Sebak. Its capital was Ombos.

5 This nome destroyed the crocodile and worshipped the sun. Its capital was Apollinopolis Magna.

6 It worshipped Osiris and his son Orus. The chief town was Thermonthis.

7 Probably the original kingdom of Menes of This, the founder of the Egyptian monarchy. It worshipped Osiris. Its capital was This, afterwards called Abydos.

8 The nome of Thebes, which was its chief town.

9 Its capital was Coptos.

10 Its chief town was Tentyra. This nome worshipped Athor or Venus, Isis, and Typhon. It destroyed the crocodile.

11 Perhaps the same as the Panopolite or Chemmite nome, which had for its chief town Chemmis or Panopolis. It paid divine honours to a deified hero.

12 It probably worshipped Typhon. Its capital was Antæopolis.

13 Probably an offshoot from a nome in the Heptanomis of similar name.

14 Dedicated to the worship of the wolf. Its chief town was Lycopolis. It should be remarked that these names do not appear to be given by Pliny in their proper geographical order.

15 Some of these nomes were inconsiderable and of little importance. The Bubastite nome worshipped Bubastis, Artemis, or Diana, of whom it contained a fine temple.

16 Its chief town was Tanis. In this nome, according to tradition, Moses was born.

17 Its capital was Athribis, where the shrew-mouse and crocodile were worshipped.

18 The seat of the worship of the dog-headed deity Anubis. Its capital was Cynopolis; which is to be distinguished from the Deltic city and other places of that name, as this was a nome of the Heptanomis or Middle Egypt, to which also the Hammonian nome belonged.

19 The border nome of Upper and Middle Egypt.

20 Its capital was Pachnamunis. It worshipped a goddess corresponding to the Greek Leto, or the Latona of the Romans.

21 Its capital was Busiris. It worshipped Isis, and at one period was said to have sacrificed the nomad tribes of Syria and Arabia.

22 Its chief town was Onuphis.

23 Its chief city was Sais, and it worshipped Neith or Athene, and contained the tomb and a sanctuary of Osiris.

24 Its capital was Tava.

25 Its chief town was Naucratis on the coast, the birth-place of Athenæus, the Deipnosophist. By some authors it is made part of the Saitic nome. The names given by Pliny vary very considerably from those found in others of the ancient writers.

26 The capital of this nome was Heracleopolis, 'The city of Hercules,' as Pliny calls it, situate, as he says, on an island, at the entrance of the nome of Arsinoïtes, formed by the Nile and a canal. After Memphis and Heliopolis, it was probably the most important city couth of the Thebaid. Its ruins are inconsiderable; a portion of them are to be seen at the modern hamlet of Amasieh.

27 The capital of this nome was Heracleopolis, 'The city of Hercules,' as Pliny calls it, situate, as he says, on an island, at the entrance of the nome of Arsinoïtes, formed by the Nile and a canal. After Memphis and Heliopolis, it was probably the most important city couth of the Thebaid. Its ruins are inconsiderable; a portion of them are to be seen at the modern hamlet of Amasieh.

28 He probably means Arsinoë or Arsinoïtis, the chief town of the nome of that name, and the city so called at the northern extremity of the Heroöpolite Gulf in the Red Sea. The former is denoted by the modern district of El-Fayoom, the most fertile of ancient Egypt. At this place the crocodile was worshipped. The Labyrinth and Lake Mœris were in this nome. Extensive ruins at Medinet-el-Fayoom, or El-Fares, represent its site. The modern Ardscherud, a village near Suez, corresponds to Arsinoë on the Red Sea. There is some little doubt however whether this last Arsinoë is the one here meant by Pliny.

29 Memphis was the chief city of this nome, which was situate in Middle Egypt, and was the capital of the whole country, and the residence of the Pharaohs, who succeeded Psammetichus, B.C. 616. This nome rose in importance on the decline of the kingdom of Thebais, but was afterwards eclipsed by the progress of Alexandria under the successors of Alexander the Great.

30 At which Middle Egypt terminates.

31 They are more generally looked upon as forming one nome only, and included under the name of Hammonium.

32 Its chief town was Heroöpolis, a principal seat of the worship of Typhon, the evil or destroying genius.

33 The same as the nome of Arsinoïtes, the capital of which, Arsinoë, was originally called Crocodilopolis.

34 Now known as Birket-el-Keroum. This was a vast lake on the western side of the Nile in Middle Egypt, used for the reception and subsequent distribution of a part of the overflow of the Nile. The supposition that it was formed by artificial means is now pretty generally exploded, and it is regarded as of natural formation. It was situate in the nome of Arsinoïtes or Crocodilopolites. Its length seems to be overstated by our author, as at the present day it is only thirty miles in length and five in breadth at the widest part.

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