Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

orange, lemon, and other trees; and is so pure that a wholesomer or more agreable is not found in the world ; so that nature, being then dead as it were, in all other climates, seems to be alive only for so delightful an abode. .

:. 9. The canal formed by the Nile, by which a cons

munication is made between the two seas. The canal, by which a communication was made Herod. between the Red-Sea and the Mediterranean, ought 1.2.c.15.8. to have a place, here, as it was not one of the least, trap.

all l. 17. P. advantages which the Nile procured Egypt. Sefoftris, sok. or according to others Prammetichus, first projected Plin.1. 16. the design, and begun this work. Necho, successor c. 29. to the last Prince, laid out immense sunis upon ii, Diod. 1. I. and employed a prodigious number of men. 'Tis P. 29. faid, chat above lixscore thousand Egyptians-perih-... ed in the undertaking. He gave it over, terrified by an oracle, which told him that he thereby would be open a door for Barbarians (for by this name they cal. . led all foreigners) to enter Egypt. The work was continued by Darius, the first of that name; but he also desisted from it upon his being told, that as the Red Sea lay higher than Egypt, it would drown the whole country. But it was at last finished under the Prolemies, who, by the help of lluices opened or Thut the canal as there was occasion. It began not far from the Delca, near the town of Bubafte. It was an hundred cubits, that is, twenty five fathoms broad, so that two vefsels might puis with ease; it had depth :; enough to carry the largest ships ; and was above a thousand ftadia, that is, above fifty leagues long. This canal was of great service to the trade of Egypt, But it is now almost filled up, and there are scarce' any remains of it to be seen.

contine lifted from it than Egypt, he finished unde

[blocks in formation]

Ç H A P. III.
LOWER EGYPT.

[ocr errors]

I AM now to speak of Lower Egypt. Its shape, I which resembles a triangle or a, gave ocea. sion to its bearing the latter name, which is that of one of the Greek letters. Lower Egypt forms a kind of ihand; it begins at the place where the Nile is divided into two large canals, through which it empties itself into the Mediterranean: The mouth on the right-hand is called the Pelusian, and the other the Canopic, from two cities in their neighbour. hood, Pelusium and Canopus, now called Damietta and Rosetta. Between these two large branches, there are five others of less note. This island is the best cultivated, the most fruitful, and the richest in Egypt. Its chief cities (very anciently) were Heliopolis, Heracleopolis, Naucratis, Sais, Tanis, Canopus, Pelufium ; and in latter, times, Alexandria, Nicopolis, &c. it was in the country of Tanis that the Is

raelites dwelt. Plutar. in There was at Şais, a temple dedicated to MiIfid." .: nerva, who is supposed to be the same as Isis, with P. 354. the following inscription: I am whatever hath been,

and is, and shall be; and no mortal bath yet pierced

- thro? the veil that Morouds me. Strab... HELIOPOLIS, that is, the city of the sun, was so 1. 17., called from a magnificent teniple there dedicated to p; 805: that planet. Herodotus and other authors after him, Herod.. 1. 2. c.73. "cate Jonc particurar

2. relate some particulars concerning the Phænix and Plin.l. 1o. this temple, which, if true, would indeed be very 6. 2. wonderful. Of this kind of birds, if we may believe Tacit., the ancients, there is never but one at a time in the Ann. 1.6.

"world. He is brought forth in Arabia, lives five or

fix hundred years, and is of the size of an Eagle. His head is adorned with a shining and most beautiful crest; the feachers of his neck are of a gold co

' lours

[ocr errors]

Hiproduced, out of his bones, and aromatipproach.

to whicle in ito, it caren

lour, and the rest of a purple ; his tail is white, intermixt with red, and his eyes sparkling like , stars. When he is old, and finds his end approaching, he builds a neft with wood and aromatick spices, and then dies. Of his bones and marrow, a worm is produced, out of which another Phænix is formed. · His first care is to solemnize his parent's obsequies, for which purpose he makes up a ball in the Thape of an egg, with abundance of perfumes of myrrh as heavy as he can carry, which he often assays beforehand; then he makes a hole in it, where he deposites his parent's body, and closes it carefully with myrrh and other perfumes. After this he takes up the precious load on his shoulders, and flying to the altar of the sun, in the city of Heliopolis, he there burns it.

HERODOTUS and Tacitus dispute the truth of some of the circumstances of the incident in question, buc seem to suppose it true in general. Pliny on the contrary, in the very beginning of his account of it, insinuates plainly enough, that he looks upon the whole as fabulous; and this is the opinion of all modern authors. : · This ancient tradition, tho’grounded on an evidenc falshood, hath yet introduced into almost all languages, the custom of giving the name of Phænix to whatever is fingular and uncomnion in its kind: Rara avis in terris, says Juvenal, speaking of the diffi- Sat. 6. culty of finding an accomplished woman in all re{pects. And Seneca observes the fame of a good.. man*. '

What is reported of the swans, viz. that they never sing but in their expiring moments, and chat then they warble very melodiously, is likewise grounded merely on a vulgar error; and yet it is used, not only by the poets, but also by the orators, and even the

* Vir bonus tam cito nec fieri Phenix, femel anno quingenpoteft, nec intelligiwatanquam tefimo nascitur, Ep. 42...

philosophers.

Od.3.1.4. philosophers. O mutis quoque piscibus donatura cygni,,

si libeat, fonum, says Horace to Melpomene. Cicero compares the excellent discourse which Craffus made in the senate, .a few days before his death, to the melodious singing of a dying swan. Illa tanquam cycnea fuit divini bominis vox & oratio, de orat. I. 3. n. 6. And Socrates used to say, that good men ought to imitate swans, who perceiving by a secret instinct, and a divination, what advantage there is in death, die singing and with joy. Providentes quid in morte boni fit, cum cantu & voluptate moriuntur.Tusc. Qu.l. I. n. 73. I thought this short digression might be of

service to youth; and return now to my subject. Strab.l.17. It was in Heliopolis, that an ox, under the name 'p. 805. ' of Mnevis, was worshipped as a God. Cambyfes, 2 . King of Persia, exercised his facrilegious rage on this

city ; burning the temples, demolishing the palaces, os and destroying the most precious monuments of an· tiquity in it. There are still to be seen some obeJisks which escaped his fury; and others were brought from thence to Rome, to which city they are an ornament even at this day,

Alexandria, built by Alexander the Great, from whom it had its name, vied almost ini magnificence with the ancient cities of Egypt. It stands four

days journey from Cairo, and was formerly the chief Strab... mart of all the eastern trade. The merchandise were 1.16. 7. unloaded at Portus Muris *, a town on the western P: 781, coast of the Red-Sea ; from whence they were brought

upon camels to a town of Thebais, called Copht,

and conveyed down the Nile to Alexandria, whicher ; merchants resorted from all parts.

It is well known, that the East-India trade hath at all times enriched those who carried it on. This was the chief fountain of the vast treasures that Sola

mon amassed, and which enabled him to build the 2 Sam. 8. magnificent temple of Jerusalem. David, by his 14.

*Or Myos Hormos.

conquering

from thenven at this Quilt by

conquering Idumæa, became master of Elath and Eliongeber, two towns situated on the eastern shore of the Red-Sea. From these two ports, Solomon sent fleets 1 Kings 9. to Ophir and Tarshish, which always brought back 26. immense riches *. This traffick after having been enjoyed some time by the Syrians, who regained Idumæa, shifted from them to the Tyrians. These got all Strab.l.16 their merchandize conveyed, by the way of Rhinoco-p.481. lura, (a sea-port town lying between the confines of Egypt and Palestine) to Tyre, from whence they distributed them all over the western world. Hereby the Tyrians enriched themselves exceedingly, under the Persian Empire; by the favour and protection of whose Monarchs they had the full poffeflion of this trade. But when the Prolemies had made themselves masters of Egypt, they soon drew all this trade into their kingdom, by building Berenice and other ports on the western side of the Red Sea, belonging to Egypt; and fixed their chief mart at Alexandria, which thereby rose to be the city of the greatest trade in the world. There it continued for a great many centu-'.. ries after; and all the traffick, which the western parts of the world from that time had with Persia; India, Arabia, and the eastern coasts of Africa, was wholly carried on through the Red-Sea, and the mouth of the Nile, till a way was discovered, a little above two hundred years since, of sailing to those parts, by the Cape of Good Hope. After this, the Portuguese for some time managed this trade; but now . it is in a manner ingrofred wholly by the English and Dutch. This short account of the East India trade, Part 1. from Solomon's time, to the present age, is extracted L. 1. p.9. from Dr. Prideaux.

For the conveniency of trade, there was built near Strab.. Alexandria, in an island called Pharos, a tower which l. 17:

p. 791. * He got in one voyage 459 2 hundred and 40 thousa.id Pounds Plin. 1.36. Talents of Gold, 2 Chron. viii. Sterling, Prid. Connect. Vol. 1. C. 12., 18. rokich amounts 10 3 Millions, 'ad an. 740. not.: .

. :: bore

« FöregåendeFortsätt »