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Herodotus' HISTORY BOOK 2 (EUTERPE) Complete

Translated by G. Macaulay.

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8. From Heliopolis however, as you go up, Egypt is narrow; for on the one side a mountain-range belonging to Arabia stretches along by the side of it, going in a direction from North towards the midday and the South Wind, tending upwards without a break to that which is called the Erythraian Sea, in which range are the stone-quarries which were used in cutting stone for the pyramids at Memphis. On this side then the mountain ends where I have said, and then takes a turn back; [12] and where it is widest, as I was informed, it is a journey of two months across from East to West; and the borders of it which turn towards the East are said to produce frankincense. Such then is the nature of this mountain-range; and on the side of Egypt towards Libya another range extends, rocky and enveloped in sand: in this are the pyramids, and it runs in the same direction as those parts of the Arabian mountains which go towards the midday. So then, I say, from Heliopolis the land has no longer a great extent so far as it belongs to Egypt, [13] and for about four [14] days' sail up the river Egypt properly so called is narrow: and the space between the mountain-ranges which have been mentioned is plain-land, but where it is narrowest it did not seem to me to exceed two hundred furlongs from the Arabian mountains to those which are called the Libyan. After this again Egypt is broad. 9. Such is the nature of this land: and from Heliopolis to Thebes is a voyage up the river of nine days, and the distance of the journey in furlongs is four thousand eight hundred and sixty, the number of the schoines being eighty-one. If these measures of Egypt in furlongs be put together the result is as follows:—I have already before this shown that the distance along the sea amounts to three thousand six hundred furlongs, and I will now declare what the distance is inland from the sea to Thebes, namely six thousand one hundred and twenty furlongs: and again the distance from Thebes to the city called Elephantine is one thousand eight hundred furlongs.

[12] I have followed Stein in taking {es ta eiretai} with {legon}, meaning "at the Erythraian Sea," {taute men} being a repetition of {te men} above. The bend back would make the range double, and hence partly its great breadth. Others translate, "Here (at the quarries) the range stops, and bends round to the parts mentioned (i.e. the Erythraian Sea)."

[13] {os einai Aiguptou}: cp. iv. 81. Others translate, "considering that it belongs to Egypt" (a country so vast), i.e. "as measures go in Egypt." In any case {Aiguptos eousa} just below seems to repeat the same meaning.

[14] Some Editors alter this to "fourteen."

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