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Nile River
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Ancient Nile River the great river flowing through on which her life has always depended. The word Nile does not occur in the Bible but it is spoken of under the names of Sihor and the "river of Egypt."

Gen. 41:1 ff. - And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river.

Exod. 7:17 ff. - Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I [am] the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that [is] in mine hand upon the waters which [are] in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.

Isa. 19:5 ff. - And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up.

Isa. 23:10 - Pass through thy land as a river, O daughter of Tarshish: [there is] no more strength.

Jer. 46:7 f. - Who [is] this [that] cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers?

Ezek. 29:3 - Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river [is] mine own, and I have made [it] for myself.

Nah. 3:8 - Art thou better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, [that had] the waters round about it, whose rampart [was] the sea, [and] her wall [was] from the sea?

Nile River (blue, dark), the great river of Egypt. The word Nile nowhere occurs in the Authorized Version but it is spoken of under the names of Sihor [SIHOR] and the "river of Egypt." Ge 15:18 We cannot as yet determine the length of the Nile, although recent discoveries have narrowed the question. There is scarcely a doubt that its largest confluent is fed by the great lakes on and south of the equator. It has been traced upward for about 2700 miles, measured by its course, not in a direct line, and its extent is probably over 1000 miles more. (The course of the river has been traced for 3300 miles. For the first 1800 miles (McClintock and Strong say 2300) from its mouth it receives no tributary; but at Kartoom, the capital of Nubia, is the junction of the two great branches, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, so called from the color of the clay which tinges their waters. The Blue Nile rises in the mountains of Abyssinia and is the chief source of the deposit which the Nile brings to Egypt. The White Nile is the larger branch. Late travellers have found its source in Lake Victoria Nyanza, three degrees south of the equator. From this lake to the mouth of the Nile the distance is 2300 miles in a straight line --one eleventh the circumference of the globe. From the First Cataract, at Syene, the river flows smoothly at the rate of two or three miles an hour with a width of half a mile. to Cairo. A little north of Cairo it divides into two branches, one flowing to Rosetta and the other to Damietta, from which place the mouths are named. See Bartlett's "Egypt and Israel," 1879. The great peculiarity of the river is its annual overflow, caused by the periodical tropical rains. "With wonderful clock-like regularity the river begins to swell about the end of June, rises 24 feet at Cairo between the 20th and 30th of September and falls as much by the middle of May. Six feet higher than this is devastation; six feet lower is destitution." --Bartlett. So that the Nile increases one hundred days and decreases one hundred days, and the culmination scarcely varies three days from September 25 the autumnal equinox. Thus "Egypt is the gift of the Nile." As to the cause of the years of plenty and of famine in the time of Joseph, Mr. Osburn, in his "Monumental History of Egypt," thinks that the cause of the seven years of plenty was the bursting of the barriers (and gradually wearing them away) of "the great lake of Ethiopia," which once existed on the upper Nile, thus bringing more water and more sediment to lower Egypt for those years. And he shows how this same destruction of this immense sea would cause the absorption of the waters of the Nile over its dry bed for several years after thus causing the famine. There is another instance of a seven-years famine-A.D. 1064-1071.--ED.) The great difference between the Nile of Egypt in the present day and in ancient times is caused by the failure of some of its branches and the ceasing of some of its chief vegetable products; and the chief change in the aspect of the cultivable land, as dependent on the Nile, is the result of the ruin of the fish-pools and their conduits and the consequent decline of the fisheries. The river was famous for its seven branches, and under the Roman dominion eleven were counted, of which, however, there were but seven principal ones. The monuments and the narratives of ancient writers show us in the Nile of Egypt in old times a stream bordered By flags and reeds, the covert of abundant wild fowl, and bearing on its waters the fragrant flowers of the various-colored lotus. Now in Egypt scarcely any reeds or waterplants --the famous papyrus being nearly, if not quite extinct, and the lotus almost unknown--are to he seen, excepting in the marshes near the Mediterranean. Of old the great river must have shown a more fair and busy scene than now. Boats of many kinds were ever passing along it, by the painted walls of temples and the gardens that extended around the light summer pavilions, from the pleasure valley, with one great square sail in pattern and many oars, to the little papyrus skiff dancing on the water and carrying the seekers of pleasure where they could shoot with arrows or knock down with the throw-stick the wild fowl that abounded among the reeds, or engage in the dangerous chase of the hippopotamus or the crocodile. The Nile is constantly before us in the history of Israel in Egypt. - Smith's Bible Dictionary

Nilus The Nile, a great river of Egypt. The name is probably cognate with the Semitic Nahar or Nahal, “river.” Homer calls it ????pt?? ( Od. iv. 477); and the name ?e???? occurs first in Hesiod (Theog. 338) and Hecataeus (Frag. 279). The Jews called it Nahal-Misraim, “River of Egypt.” The Nile takes its rise in the two lakes Victoria Nyanza and Albert Nyanza, which are themselves fed by various streams. For three hundred miles after leaving the former, it flows with a swift current in rapids and cataracts and between high walls of rock. It leaves the northern end of Lake Albert Nyanza, where it is known as the Bahr-el-Jebel, and flows in a northerly course towards the Mediterranean Sea. The first six score miles are through a level country, then for another equal distance is contracted into a narrow stream (in places not more than a quarter of a mile in width), and then, being forced over the Yarbovah Rapids, it enters the plains and flows in a sluggish stream to Khartoum, distant some 800 miles. In 7¡ 30' north latitude it divides into two streams, the so-called White Nile (Bahr-el-Abiad) and the Bahrel-Jebel. In 9¡ 30' north latitude the latter receives the Bahr-el-Ghazal from the west. At Khartoum (15¡ 37' north latitude) the White Nile and the Blue Nile (Bahr-el-Azrak) unite, and the great stream then flows on, taking up the Black Nile (Bahr-elAswad), whose black sediment makes the Delta so remarkable for its fertility. The point of junction is the apex of the island Meroë, where the river has a breadth of two miles. Thence it flows through Nubia in a rocky valley, falling over six cataracts, the northernmost being known as the First Cataract, and marking now, as in antiquity, the southern boundary of Egypt. See Aegyptus.

The Nile emptied into the Mediterranean by three channels, parted into seven, of which, according to Herodotus, two were artificial and five natural. From these seven channels come the names applied to it by Moschus, Catullus (septemgeminus), and Ovid (septemplex). Most of the seven mouths had names derived from their cities (i. e. the Canopic, Bolbitic, Sebennytic, Pathmetic or Bucolic, Mendesian, Tanitic or Saïtic, and Pelusiac). At the present time there are only two principal mouths, known as the Rosetta on the west and the Damiat on the east. From the dark sediment deposited by the river came the native name of Egypt—Chemi or Kemi, “the black land.” A great artificial canal (Bahr-Yussouf, i. e. “Joseph's Canal”) runs parallel to the river, at the distance of about six miles, from Diospolis Parva in the Thebais to a point on the west mouth of the river about half-way between Memphis and the sea. Many smaller canals were cut to regulate the irrigation of the country A canal from the east mouth of the Nile to the head of the Red Sea was commenced under the native kings, and finished by Darius, son of Hystaspes. There were several lakes in the country, respecting which see Buto, Mareotis, Moeris, Sirbonis, and Tanis. For the use of the Nile in irrigation, see Aegyptus, p. 24. The ancients knew little of the Nile beyond the First Cataract at Meroë. It was generally believed that the great river originated in Mauretania and flowed for a long distance underground until it came to the southern part of Aethiopia, whence it flowed northward as the Astapas. The emperor Nero undertook to discover its sources, and sent out two expeditions for that purpose, which succeeded only in reaching the confluence of the Sobat and the White Nile, some thirty miles beyond the junction of the White Nile with the Bahr-el-Zereb. Ptolemy, however, speaks of the river as issuing from two great lakes six and seven degrees respectively south of the equator, and fed by the melting snows of the Mountains of the Moon, lately identified by Stanley with Gordon Bennett, Ruwenzovi, and adjacent peaks. This is about as much as any one had learned until the present century, when the discoveries of Speke (1858 and 1862), Baker (1864), Schweinfurth (1868-71), and Stanley (1875 and 1889) solved bit by bit the mystery of the ages. The Nile was deified by the Egyptians and worshipped as a god. A famous statue in the Vatican at Rome represents the river deity as a reclining figure pillowed on a sphinx and holding a cornucopia (typical of the fertility caused by the river's overflow), while sixteen children, representing the affluents of the Nile, play about. The work belongs to the Graeco-Egyptian period. See Herod. ii. 19-26; Pliny , Pliny H. N. v. 51Pliny H. N., 58; viii. 77; Dio Cass. lxxv. 13; Solin. 35; and on the deification of the river by the Egyptians, Herod.ii. 101; Diod.i. 6-26. - Harry Thurston Peck. Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers. 1898.

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Nile River NILUS
NILUS, the river Nile in Egypt. Of all the more important rivers of the globe known to the Greek and Roman writers, the Nile was that which from the remotest periods arrested their liveliest curiosity and attention. It ranked with them as next in magnitude to the Ganges and the Indus, and as surpassing the Danube in the length of its course and the volume of its waters. (Strab. xv. p.702.) Its physical phenomena and the peculiar civilisation of the races inhabiting its banks attracted alike the historian, the mathematician, the satirist, and the romance-writer: Herodotus and Diodorus, Eratosthenes and Strabo, Lucian and Heliodorus, expatiate on its marvels; and as Aegypt was the resort of the scientific men of Greece in general, the Nile was more accurately surveyed and described than any other river of the earth.

The word Nilus, if it were not indigenous, was of Semitic origin, and probably transmitted to the Greeks by the Phoenicians. Its epithets in various languages--e. g. the Hebrew Sihhor (Isaiah, 23.3; Jerem. 2.18), the Aegyptian Chemi, and the Greek µ??a? (Servius, ad Virgil. Georg. 4.291)--point to the same peculiarity of its waters, the hue imparted by their dark slime. The Hebrews entitled the Nile Nahal-Misraim, or river of Aegypt; but the natives called it simply p-iero (whence probably the Nubian kier) or the river (i. e. of rivers). Lydus (de Mensibus, 100.8) says that it was some-times termed Ilas or dark; and Pliny (5.9. s. 9; comp. Dionys. Perieg. 5.213) observes, somewhat vaguely, that in Aethiopia the river was called Siris, and did not acquire the appellation of Nilus before it reached Syene. With few exceptions, however, the Greeks recognised the name of Nilus as far south as Meroe; and above that mesopotamian region they merely doubted to which of its tributaries they should assign the principal name. Homer, indeed (Od. 3.300, 4.477, &c.), calls the river Aegyptus, from the appellation of the land which it intersects. But Hesiod (Hes. Th. 338) and Hecataeus (Fragm. 279--280), and succeeding poets and historians uniformly designate the river of Aegypt as the Nile.

It is unnecessary to dwell on a theory at one time received, but generally discredited by the ablest of the ancient geographers--that the Nile rose in Lower Mauretania, not far from the Western Ocean (Juba, ap. Plin. Nat. 5.9. s. 10; D. C. 75.13; Solin. 100.35); that it flowed in an easterly direction; was engulphed by the sands of the Sahara; re-appeared as the Nigir; again sunk in the earth, and came to light once more near the Great Lake of Debâya as the proper Nile.

Historically, the Nile derives its principal importance from the civilisation, to which it contributed so materially, of the races inhabiting its shores, from the S. of Meroe northwards to the Mediterranean. But for geographical purposes it is necessary to examine its course, in the first instance, through less known regions, and to ascertain, if possible, which of its feeders above Meroe was regarded by the ancients as the true Nile. The course of the stream may be divided into three heads:--(1) the river S. of Meroe; (2) between Meroe and Syene; and (3) between Syene, or Philae, and the Mediterranean.

(1.) The Nile above Meroe.--The ancients briefly described the Nile as springing from marshes (Nili Paludes) at the foot of the Mountains of the Moon. But as all the rivers which flow northward from the Abyssinian highlands rise from lagoons, and generally expand themselves into broad marshes, this description is too vague. Neither is it clear whether they regarded the White River, or the Blue, or the Astaboras (Tacazzé), as the channel of the true Nile. The names of rivers are often given capriciously: it by no means follows that they are imposed upon the principal arm or tributary; and hence we can assign neither to the Astapus nor to the White River, usually considered as the main stream, the distinction of being absolutely the “true Nile.”

The Nile, as Strabo sagaciously remarks (xi. p. 493), was well known because it was the channel of active commerce; and his observation, if applied to its southern portions, may lead us to the channel which was really regarded as the principal river even in remotest ages. The stream most frequented and accessible to navigation, and whose banks were the most thickly peopled, was doubtless the one which earliest attracted attention, and this we believe to have been the Astapus (Bahr-el-Azrek, or Blue River).

As the sources both of the Blue River and of the Bahr-el-Abiad or the White River are uncertain, it will be proper to examine these streams above their point of junction near the modern military station at Khartûm, lat. 15° 37' N., long. 33° E. The Astaboras (Tacazzé) may for the present be dismissed, both as an inferior tributary, and as below the meeting of the two main streams.

The White River, which has been often designated as “the true Nile,” has at no period been either a road for traffic nor favourable to the settlement of man on its banks. It is rather an immense lagoon than a river, is often from 5 to 7 miles in breadth, and its sides are in general so low as to be covered at times with alluvial deposit to a distance of from 2 to. 3 miles beyond the stream. On its shores there is neither any town, nor any tradition of there having ever been one; nor indeed, for many leagues up the stream, do there occur any spots suited either to the habitation of men, to pasture, or to tillage. On the contrary, it is represented by travellers much in the same terms in which Seneca (Natur. Quaest. 6.8) speaks of the Nili Paludes, as seen by Nero's surveyors. The latter are described by the Roman philosopher as “immensas paludes, quarum exitus nec incolae noverant, nec sperare quisquam potest, ita implicitae aquis herbae sunt,” &c.: the former by recent explorers as “an interminable sea of grass,” “a fetid stagnant marsh,” &c. As the White River indeed approaches the higher table-land of the S., its banks become less depressed, and are inhabited ; but the weedy lagoons extend nearly 100 miles SW. of Khartûm.

But if we trace upwards the channel of the Blue River, a totally different spectacle presents itself. [2.431] The river nearly resembles in its natural features and the cultivation of its banks the acknowledged Nile below the junction lower down. The current is swift and regular: the banks are firm and well defined: populous villages stand in the midst of clumps of date-trees or fields of millet (dhourra), and both the land and the water attest the activity of human enterprise.

A difference corresponding to these features is observable also in the respective currents of these rivers. The White River moves sluggishly along, without rapids or cataracts: the Blue River runs strongly at all seasons, and after the periodical rains with the force and speed of a torrent. The diversity is seen also on the arrival of their waters at the point of junction. Although the White River is fed by early rains near the equator, its floods ordinarily reach Khartúm three weeks later than those of the Blue River. And at their place of meeting the superior strength of the latter is apparent. For while the stronger flood discharges itself through a broad channel, free from bars and shoals, the White River is contracted at its mouth, and the more rapid current of its rival has thrown up a line of sand across its influx. Actual measurement, too, has proved the breadth of the Blue River at the point of junction to be 768 yards, while that of the White is only 483, and the body of water poured down by the former is double of that discharged by the latter. From all these circumstances it is probable that to the Bahr-el-Azrek rather than to the Bahr-el-Abiad belongs the name of the “true Nile;” and this supposition accords with an ancient tradition among the people of Sennaar who hold the Blue River in peculiar veneration as the “Father of the Waters that run into the Great Sea.”

The knowledge possessed by the ancients of the upper portions and tributaries of the Nile was not altogether in a direct proportion to the date of their intercourse with those regions. Indeed, the earlier track of commerce was more favourable to acquaintance with the interior than were its later channels. The overland route declined after the Ptolemies transferred the trade from the rivers and the roads across the desert to Axume, Adulis, Berenice, and the ports of the Red Sea. Eratosthenes and other geographers, who wrote while Aethiopia still flourished, had thus better means of information than their successors in Roman times, Strabo, Ptolemy, &c. Diodorus (1.30), for example, says that a voyage up the Nile to Meroe was a costly and hazardous under-taking; and Nero's explorers (Plin. Nat. 5.9. s. 10; Senec. N. Q. 6.8) seem to have found in that once populous and fertile kingdom only solitude and decay. At the close of the third century A.D. the Romans abandoned every station on the Nile above Philae, as not worth the cost and care of defence,--a proof that the river-traffic, beyond Aegypt, must have dwindled away. As the trade with Arabia and Taprobane (Ceylon) by sea developed itself, that with Libya would become of less importance; and in proportion as the Red Sea was better known, the branches and sources of the Nile were obscured.

(2.) The Nile below the point of junction.--The two streams flow in a common bed for several miles N. of Khartûm, without, however, blending their waters. The Bahr-Abiad retains its white soapy hue, both in the dry season and during the inundations, while the Bahr-Azrek is distinguished by its dark colour. For 12 or 15 miles below the point of junction the Nile traverses a narrow and gloomy defile, until it emerges among the immense plains of herbage in the mesopotamian district of Meroe. Beyond Meroe, already described [MEROE], the Nile receives its last considerable affluent, the Astaboras or Tacazzé; the only other accessions to its stream in its course northward being the torrents or wadys that, in the rainy season, descend from the Arabian hills. From the N. of Meroe to Syene, a distance of about 700 miles, the river enters upon the region of Cataracts, concerning which the ancients invented or credited so many marvels. (Cic. Somn. Scip. (in Rep.) 5; Senec. N. Q. 4.2.)

These rapids are seven in number, and are simply dams or weirs of granite or porphyry rising through the sandstone, and, being little affected by the attrition of the water, resist its action, divide its stream, and render its fall per mile double of the average fall below Philae. So far, however, from the river descending lofty precipices with a deafening noise, even the steepest of the rapids may be shot, though not without some danger, at high water; and at the great Cataract the entire descent in a space of 5 miles is only 80 feet. [PHILAE] Increased by the stream of the Astaboras, the Nile, from lat. 17° 45' N., flows in a northerly direction for 120 miles, through the land of the Berbers. Then comes its great SW. elbow or bend, commencing at the rocky island of Mogreb (lat. 19° N.), and continuing nearly to the most northern point of Meroe. During this lateral deflection the Nile is bounded W. by the desert of Bahiouda, the region of the ancient Nubae, and E. by the Arabian Desert, inhabited, or rather traversed, by the nomade Blemmyes and Megabari. [MACROBII] Throughout this portion of its course the navigation of the river is greatly impeded by rapids, so that the caravans leave its banks, and regain them by a road crossing the eastern desert at Derr or Syene, between the first and second Cataracts. No monuments connect this region with either Meroe or Aegypt. It must always, indeed, have been thinly peopled, since the only cultivable soil consists of strips or patches of land extending about 2 miles at furthest beyond either bank of the Nile.

While skirting or intersecting the kingdom of Meroe, the river flowed by city and necropolis, which, according to some writers, imparted their forms and civilisation to Aegypt, according to others derived both art and polity from it. The desert of Bahiouda severs the chain of monuments, which, however, is resumed below the fourth Cataract at Nouri, Gebel-el-Birkel, and Merawe. (Lat. 20° N.) Of thirty-five pyramids at Nouri, on the left bank of the river, about half are in good preservation; but the purpose which they served is uncertain, since no ruins of any cities point to them as a necropolis, and they are without sculptures or hieroglyphics. On the western side of Gebel-el-Birkel, about 8 miles lower down, and on the right bank, are found not only pyramids, but also the remains of several temples and the vestiges of a city, probably Napata, the capital of Candace, the Aethiopian queen. [NAPATA] (Cailliaud, l'Isle de Meroe, vol. iii. p. 197; Hoskins, Travels, p. 136--141.) About the 18th degree of N. latitude the Nile resumes its northerly direction, which it observes generally until it approaches the second Cataract. In resuming its direct course to N., it enters the kingdom of Dongola, and most; of the features which marked its channel through the [2.432] desert now disappear. The rocky banks sink down; the inundation fertilises the borders to a considerable distance ; and for patches of arable soil fine pastures abound, whence both Arabia and Aegypt imported a breed of excellent horses. (Russegger, Karte von Nubien.) But after quitting Napata (?) no remains of antiquity are found before we arrive at the Gagaudes Insula of Pliny (6.29. s. 35), lat. 19°35', the modern Argo, a little above the third Cataract. The quarries of this island, which is about 12 miles in length, and causes a considerable eddy in the river, were worked both by Aethiopians and Aegyptians. A little to N. of this island, and below the third Cataract, the Nile makes a considerable bend to the E., passing on its right bank the ruins of Seghi, or Seschè. On its left bank are found the remains of the temple of Soleb, equally remarkable for the beauty of its architecture, and for its picturesque site upon the verge of the rich land, “the river's gift,” and an illimitable plain of sand stretching to the horizon. (Cailliaud, l'Isle de Meroe, vol. i. p. 375; Hoskins, Travels, p. 245.) The Nile is once again divided by an island called Sais, and a little lower down is contracted by a wall of granite on either side, so that it is hardly a stone's-throw across. At this point, and for a space of several miles, navigation is practicable only at the season of the highest floods.

Below Sais are found the ruins of the small temple of Amara, and at Semneh those of two temples which, from their opposite eminences on the right and left banks of the river, probably served as fortresses also at this narrow pass of the Nile. That a city of great strength once existed here is the more probable, because at or near Semneh was the frontier between Aethiopia and Aegypt. We have now arrived at the termination of the porphyry and granite rocks: henceforward, from about lat. 21° N., the river-banks are composed of sandstone, and acquire a less rugged aspect. The next remarkable feature is the Cataract of Wadi-Halfa, the Great Cataract of the ancient geographers. (Strab. xvii. p.786.)

In remote ante-historic periods a bar of primitive rock, piercing the sandstone, probably spanned the Nile at this point (lat. 22° N.) from shore to shore. But the original barrier has been broken by some natural agency, and a series of islands now divides the stream which rushes and chafes between them. It is indeed less a single fall or shoot of water than a succession of rapids, and may be ascended, as Belzoni did, during the inundation. (Travels in Nubia, p. 85.) The roar of the waters may be heard at the distance of half a league, and the depth of the fall is greater than that of the first Cataract at Syene. On the left bank of the river a city once stood in the immediate neighbourhood of the rapids ; and three temples, exhibiting on their walls the names of Sesortasen, Thothmes III., and Amenophis II., have been partially surveyed here. Indeed, with the second Cataract, we may be said to enter the propylaea of Aegypt itself. For thenceforward to Syene--a distance of 220 miles--either bank of the Nile presents a succession of temples, either excavated in the sandstone or separate structures, of various eras and styles of architecture. Of these the most remarkable and the most thoroughly explored is that of Aboosimbel or Ipsambul, the ancient Ibsciah, on the left bank, and two days' journey below the Cataract. This temple was first cleared of the incumbent sand by Belzoni (Researches, vol. i. p. 316), and afterwards more completely explored, and identified with the reign of Rameses III., by Champollion and Rosellini. Primis (Ibrim) is one day's journey down the stream; and below it the sandstone hills compress the river for about 2 miles within a mural escarpment, so that the current seems to force itself rather than to flow through this barrier.

(3.) The Nile below Syene.--At Syene (As. sonan), 24° 5' 23? N. lat., the Nile enters Aegypt Proper; and from this point, with occasional curvatures to the E. or NW., preserves generally a due northerly direction as far as its bifurcation at the apex of the Delta. Its bed presents but a slight declivity, the fall being only from 500 to 600 feet from Syene to the Mediterranean. The width of the valley, however, through which it flows varies considerably, and the geological character of its banks undergoes several changes. At a short distance below Syene begins a range of sandstone rocks, which pass into limestone below Latopolis, lat. 25° 30' N.; and this formation continues without any resumption of the sandstone, until both the Libyan and the Arabian hills diverge finally at Cercasorum. The river thus flows beneath the principal quarries out of which the great structures of the Nile valley were built, and was the high-road by which the blocks were conveyed to Thebes and Apollinopolis, to Sais and Bubastis, to the Great Labyrinth in the Arsinoite nome, to the Pyramids and Memphis, and, finally, to the Greek and Roman architects of Alexandreia and Antinoopolis. Again, from Syene to Latopolis, the shores of the river are sterile and dreary, since the inundation is checked by the rock-walls E. and W. of the stream. But at Apollinopolis Magna, lat. 25°, and at Latopolis, 25° 30', the rocks leave a broader verge for the fertilising deposit, and the Nile flows through richly cultivated tracts. At Thebes, for the first time, the banks expand into a broad plain, which is again closed in at the N. end by the hills at Gourmah. Here the river is divided by small islands, and is a mile and a quarter in breadth. It has hitherto followed a northerly direction ; but at Coptos, where a road connected the stream with the ports of the Red Sea [BERENICE], it bends to the NW., and follows this inclination for some distance. At Panopolis, however, it resumes its general N. bearing, and retains it to the fork of the Delta.

Near Diospolis Parva (How), on the left bank, and opposite Chenoboscium, on the right, begins the canal, or, perhaps, an ancient branch of the Nile, called the Canal of Joseph (Bahr-Jusuf). This lateral stream flows in a direction nearly parallel to the main one, through the Arsinoite nome (El-Fyoum). From this point the Nile itself presents no remarkable feature until it reaches Speos-Artemidos, or the grottos of Benihassan, where the eastern hills, approaching close to the river, limit its inundation, and consequently also the cultivable land. In lat. 29° N. the Libyan hills, for a space, recede, and curving at first NW., but soon resuming a SE. direction, embrace the Arsinoite nome. Lastly, a little below Memphis, and after passing the hills of Gebel-el-Mokattam, both the eastern and western chains of rocks finally diverge, and the river expands upon the great alluvial plain of the Delta.

At Cercasorum, where the bifurcation of the river begins, or, perhaps, at a remoter period, still nearer Memphis, the Nile probably met the Mediterranean, or at least an estuary, which its annual deposits of [2.433] slime have, in the course of ages, converted into Lower Aegypt. In all historical periods, however, the river has discharged itself into the sea by two main arms, forming the sides of an isosceles triangle, the boundaries of the Delta proper, and by a number of branches, some of which ran down to the sea, while others discharged their waters into the principal arms of the main stream. The Delta is, indeed, a net-work of rivers, primary and secondary; and is further intersected by numerous canals. The primary channels were usually accounted by the ancients seven in number (Hdt. 2.17; Scylax, p. 43; Strab. xvii. p.801, seq.; Diod. 1.33; Ptol. 4.5.10; Plin. Nat. 5.10. s. 11; Mela, 1.9.9; Ammianus, 22.15, 16; Wilkinson, M. & C., Mod. Egypt and Thebes, $c.), and may be taken in the order following. They are denominated from some principal city seated on their banks, and are enumerated from E. to W. - Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) William Smith, LLD, Ed.  


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Caesarea Philippi





















Danube River



Dniester River

Douro River


Ebro River


Emerita Augusta




Euphrates River

Fair Havens


Forum Appius





Garonne River





Greater Syrtis

Guadalquivir River

Guadiana River


Halys River



Heraclea Pontus

Hippo Regius









Jordan River


Kure Mountains




Leptis Magna

Lesser Syritis


Loire River









Mauritania Caesariensis

Mauritania Tingitana


Mediterranean Sea






Mount Sinai


Nabataean Kingdom









Nile River


Oceanus Atlanticus



Orontes River


















Po River



Pontus Euxinus

Porta Veneris


Prut River








Sahara Desert







Saonne River






Sea of Adria

Seine River





Sinus Arabicus






Tagus River




Taurus Mountains







Tiber River


Tisza River