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By P. F. Collier & Son

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An Account op Egypt 5

by herodotus
translated by g. c. macaulay

Tacitus on Germany 95

translated by thomas gordon

Sir Francis Drake Revived 133

edited by philip nichols

Sir Francis Drake's Famous Voyage Round the World 207
by francis pretty

Drake's Great Armada 237

by captain walter biggs

Sir Humphrey Gilbert's Voyage to Newfoundland . 271
by edward hayes

The Discovery of Guiana . 321

by sir walter raleigh



Herodotus was bom at Halicarnassus, on the southwest coast
of Asia Minor, toward the end of the fifth century, B. C. Of his
life we know almost nothing, except that he spent much of it
traveling, to collect the material for his writings, and that he
finally settled down at Thurii, in southern Italy, where his great
work was composed. He died in 424 B. C.

The subject of the history of Herodotus is the struggle between
the Greeks and the barbarians, which he brings down to the battle
of Mycale in 47Q B. C. The work, as we have it, is divided into
nine books, named after the nine Muses, but this division is prob-
ably due to the Alexandrine grammarians. His information he
gathered mainly from oral sources, as he traveled through Asia
Minor, down into Egypt, round the Black Sea, and into various
parts of Greece and the neighboring countries. The chronological
narrative halts from time to time to give opportunity for descrip-
tions of the country, the people, and their customs and previous
history; and the political account is constantly varied by rare
tales and wonders.

Among these descriptions of countries the most fascinating to
the modern, as it was to the ancient, reader is his account of the
marvels of the land of Egypt. From the priests at Memphis,
Heliopolis, and the Egyptian Thebes he learned what he reports
of the size of the country, the wonders of the Nile, the cere-
monies of their religion, the sacredness of their animals. He
tells also of the strange ways of the crocodile and of that mar-
velous bird, the Phenix; of dress and funerals and embalming ;
of the eating of lotos and papyrus; of the pyramids and the
great labyrinth; of their kings and queens and courtesans.

Yet Herodotus is not a mere teller of strange tales. However
credulous he may appear to a modem judgment, he takes care
to keep separate what he knows by his own observation from
what he has merely inferred and from what he has been told. He is
candid about acknowledging ignorance, and when versions differ
he gives both. Thus the modern scientific historian, with other
means of corroboration, can sometimes learn from Herodotus
more than Herodotus himself knew.

There is abundant evidence, too, that Herodotus had a Phi-



losophy of history. The unity which marks his work is due not
only to the strong Greek national feeling running through it, the
feeling that rises to a height in such passages as the descriptions
of the battles of Marathon, Thermopylce, and Salamis, but also
to his profound belief in Fate and in Nemesis. To his belief in
Fate is due the frequent quoti?ig of oracles and their fulfilment,
the frequent references to things foreordained by Providence.
The working of Nemesis he finds in the disasters that befall men
and nations whose towering prosperity awakens the jealousy of
the gods. The final overthrow of the Persians, which forms his
main theme, is only one specially conspicuous example of the
operation of this force from which human life can never free

But, above all, he is the father of story-tellers. "Herodotus
is such simple and delightful reading," says Jevons; "he is so
unaffected and entertaining, his story flows so naturally and with
such ease that we have a difficulty in bearing in mind that, over
and above the hard writing which goes to make easy reading,
there is a perpetual marvel in the work of Herodotus. It is the
first artistic work in prose that Greek literature produced. This
prose work, which for pure literary merit no subsequent work
has surpassed, than which later generations, after using the pen
for centuries, have produced no prose more easy or more read-
able, this was the first of histories and of literary prose."


By Herodotus


WHEN Cyrus had brought his life to an end, Cam-
byses received the royal power in succession, being
the son of Cyrus and of Cassandane the daughter
of Pharnaspes, for whose death, which came about before
his own, Cyrus had made great mourning himself and also
had proclaimed to all those over whom he bore rule that
they should make mourning for her : Cambyses, I say, being
the son of this woman and of Cyrus, regarded the Ionians
and Aiolians as slaves inherited from his father ; and he pro-
ceeded to march an army against Egypt, taking with him as
helpers not only the other nations of which he was ruler,
but also those of the Hellenes over whom he had power

Now the Egyptians, before the time when Psammetichos
became king over them, were wont to suppose that they had
come into being first of all men ; but since the time when
Psammetichos having become king desired to know what
men had come into being first, they suppose that the Phryg-
ians came into being before themselves, but they themselves
before all other men. Now Psammetichos, when he was not
able by inquiry to find out any means of knowing who had
come into being first of all men, contrived a device of the
following kind: Taking two new-born children belonging
to persons of the common sort he gave them to a shepherd
to bring up at the place where his flocks were, with a
manner of bringing up such as I shall say, charging him



namely that no man should utter any word in their presence,
and that they should be placed by themselves in a room where
none might come, and at the proper time he should bring
to them she-goats, and when he had satisfied them with milk
he should do for them whatever else was needed. These
things Psammetichos did and gave him this charge wishing
to hear what word the children would let break forth first,
after they had ceased from wailings without sense. And
accordingly so it came to pass ; for after a space of two
years had gone by, during which the shepherd went on
acting so, at length, when he opened the door and entered,
both the children fell before him in entreaty and uttered
the word bckos, stretching forth their hands. At first when
he heard this the shepherd kept silence ; but since this word
was often repeated, as he visited them constantly and at-
tended to them, at last he declared the matter to his master,
and at his command he brought the children before his face.
Then Psammetichos having himself also heard it, began to
inquire what nation of men named anything bekos, and in-
quiring he found that the Phrygians had this name for
bread. In this manner and guided by an indication such as
this, the Egyptians were brought to allow that the Phrygians
were a more ancient people than themselves. That so it
came to pass I heard from the priests of that Hephaistos
who dwells at Memphis; but the Hellenes relate, besides
many other idle tales, that Psammetichos cut out the tongues
of certain women and then caused the children to live with
these women.

With regard then to the rearing of the children they re-
lated so much as I have said: and I heard also other things
at Memphis when I had speech with the priests of Hephais-
tos. Moreover I visited both Thebes and Heliopolis for this
very cause, namely because I wished to know whether the
priests at these places would agree in their accounts with
those at Memphis; for the men of Heliopolis are said to
be the most learned in records of the Egyptians. Those of
their narrations which I heard with regard to the gods I
am not earnest to relate in full, but I shall name them only,
because I consider that all men are equally ignorant of
these matters : and whatever things of them I may record,


I shall record only because I am compelled by the course
of the story. But as to those matters which concern men,
the priests agreed with one another in saying that the
Egyptians were the first of all men on earth to find out
the course of the year, having divided the seasons into
twelve parts to make up the whole; and this they said they
found out from the stars : and they reckon to this extent
more wisely than the Hellenes, as it seems to me, inasmuch
as the*Hellenes throw in an intercalated month every other
year, to make the seasons right, whereas the Egyptians,
reckoning the twelve months at thirty days each, bring in
also every year five days beyond the number, and thus the
circle of their seasons is completed and comes round to
the same point whence it set out. They said moreover that
the Egyptians were the first who brought into use appella-
tions for the twelve gods and the Hellenes took up the use
from them ; and that they were the first who assigned altars
and images and temples to the gods, and who engraved fig-
ures on stones; and with regard to the greater number of
these things they showed me by actual facts that they had
happened so. They said also that the first man who became
king of Egypt was Min ; and that in his time all Egypt ex-
cept the district of Thebes was a swamp, and none of the
regions were then above water which now lie below the lake
of Moiris, to which lake it is a voyage of seven days up the
river from the sea: and I thought that they said well about
the land; for it is manifest in truth even to a person who
has not heard it beforehand but has only seen, at least if
he have understanding, that the Egypt to which the Hellenes
come in ships is a land which has been won by the Egyptians
as an addition, and that it is a gift of the river: moreover
the regions which lie above this lake also for a distance of
three days' sail, about which they did not go on to say any-
thing of this kind, are nevertheless another instance of the
same thing: for the nature of the land of Egypt is as fol-
lows : First when you are still approaching it in a ship and
are distant a day's run from the land, if you let down a
sounding-line you will bring up mud and you will find your-
self in eleven fathoms. This then so far shows that there
is a silting forward of the land. Then secondly, as to Egypt


itself, the extent of it along the sea is sixty schoines, accord-
ing to our definition of Egypt as extending from the Gulf
of Plinthine to the Serbonian lake, along which stretches
Mount Casion; from this lake then the sixty schoines are
reckoned: for those of men who are poor in land have their
country measured by fathoms, those who are less poor by
furlongs, those who have much land by parasangs, and those
who have land in very great abundance by schoines: now
the parasang is equal to thirty furlongs, and each schoine,
which is an Egyptian measure, is equal to sixty furlongs.
So there would be an extent of three thousand six hundred
furlongs for the coast-land of Egypt. From thence and as
far as Heliopolis inland Egypt is broad, and the land is all
flat and without springs of water and formed of mud: and
the road as one goes inland from the sea to Heliopolis is
about the same in length as that which leads from the altar
of the twelve gods at Athens to Pisa and the temple of
Olympian Zeus : reckoning up you would find the difference
very small by which these roads fail of being equal in
length, not more indeed than fifteen furlongs; for the road
from Athens to Pisa wants fifteen furlongs of being fifteen
hundred, while the road to Heliopolis from the sea reaches
that number completely. 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 the 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 moun-
tain ends where I have said, and then takes a turn back ;
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 frank-
incense. 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 pyra-
mids, 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, and for about four days' sail
up the river Egypt properly so called is narrow: and the
space between the mountain-ranges which have been men-
tioned is plain-land, but where it is narrowest it did not
seem to me to exceed two hundred furlongs from the Ara-
bian mountains to those which are called the Libyan. After
this again Egypt is broad. 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
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 fur-
longs : and again the distance from Thebes to the city called
Elephantine is one thousand eight hundred furlongs.

Of this land then, concerning which I have spoken, it
seemed to myself also, according as the priests said, that the
greater part had been won as an addition by the Egyptians ;
for it was evident to me that the space between the afore-
said mountain-ranges, which lie above the city of Memphis,
once was a gulf of the sea, like the regions about Ilion and
Teuthrania and Ephesos and the plain of the Maiander, if
it be permitted to compare small things with great; and
small these are in comparison, for of the rivers which
heaped up the soil in those regions none is worthy to be
compared in volume with a single one of the mouths of the
Nile, which has five mouths. Moreover there are other
rivers also, not in size at all equal to the Nile, which have
performed great feats; of which I can mention the names
of several, and especially the Acheloos, which flowing
through Acarnania and so issuing out into the sea has al-
ready made half of the Echinades from islands into main-
land. Now there is in the land of Arabia, not far from
Egypt, a gulf of the sea running in from that which is
called the Erythraian Sea, very long and narrow, as I
am about to tell. With respect to the length of the voyage
along it, one who set out from the innermost point to sail


out through it into the open sea, would spend forty days
upon the voyage, using oars ; and with respect to breadth,
where the gulf is broadest it is half a day's sail across: and
there is in it an ebb and flow of tide every day. Just such
another gulf I suppose that Egypt was, and that the one ran
in towards Ethiopia from the Northern Sea, and the other,
the Arabian, of which I am about to speak, tended from the
South towards Syria, the gulfs boring in so as almost to
meet at their extreme points, and passing by one another
with but a small space left between. If then the stream of
the Nile should turn aside into this Arabian gulf, what would
hinder that gulf from being filled up with silt as the river
continued to flow, at all events within a period of twenty
thousand years? indeed for my part I am of opinion that it
would be filled up even within ten thousand years. How,
then, in all the time that has elapsed before I came into
being should not a gulf be filled up even of much greater
size than this by a river so great and so active ? As regards
Egypt then, I both believe those who say that things are so,
and for myself also I am strongly of opinion that they are
so ; because I have observed that Egypt runs out into the
sea further than the adjoining land, and that shells are
found upon the mountains of it, and an efflorescence of salt
forms upon the surface, so that even the pyramids are being
eaten away by it, and moreover that of all the mountains of
Egypt, the range which lies above Memphis is the only one
which has sand : besides which I notice that Egypt resembles
neither the land of Arabia, which borders upon it, nor
Libya, nor yet Syria (for they are Syrians who dwell in
the parts of Arabia lying along the sea), but that it has soil
which is black and easily breaks up, seeing that it is in
truth mud and silt brought down from Ethiopia by the
river: but the soil of Libya, we know, is reddish in colour
and rather sandy, while that of Arabia and Syria is some-
what clavey and rocky. The priests also gave me a strong
proof concerning this land as follows, namely that in the
reign of king Moiris, whenever the river reached a height
of at least eight cubits it watered Egypt below Memphis;
and not yet nine hundred years had gone by since the death
of Moiris, when I heard these things from the priests: now


however, unless the river rises to sixteen cubits, or fifteen
at the least, it does not go over the land. I think too that
those Egyptians who dwell below the lake of Moiris and
especially in that region which is called the Delta, if that
land continues to grow in height according to this propor-
tion and to increase similarly in extent, will suffer for all
remaining time, from the Nile not overflowing their land,
that same thing which they themselves said that the Hel-
lenes would at some time suffer : for hearing that the whole
land of the Hellenes has rain and is not watered by rivers
as theirs is, they said that the Hellenes would at some time
be disappointed of a great hope and would suffer the ills
of famine. This saying means that if the god shall not
send them rain, but shall allow drought to prevail for a long
time, the Hellenes will be destroyed by hunger; for they
have in fact no other supply of water to save them except
from Zeus alone. This has been rightly said by the Egyp-
tians with reference to the Hellenes: but now let me tell
how matters are with the Egyptians themselves in their turn.
If, in accordance with what I before said, their land below
Memphis (for this is that which is increasing) shall con-
tinue to increase in height according to the same proportion
as in the past time, assuredly those Egyptians who dwell
here will suffer famine, if their land shall not have rain
nor the river be able to go over their fields. It is certain
however that now they gather in fruit from the earth with
less labour than any other men and also with less than the
other Egyptians ; for they have no labour in breaking up
furrows with a plough nor in hoeing nor in any other of
those labours which other men have about a crop ; but when
the river has come up of itself and watered their fields and
after watering has left them again, then each man sows
his own field and turns into it swine, and when he has
trodden the seed into the ground by means of the swine,
after that he waits for the harvest, and when he has
threshed the corn by means of the swine, then he gath-
ers it in.

If we desire to follow the opinions of the Ionians as re-
gards Egypt, who say that the Delta alone is Egypt, reckon-
ing its sea-coast to be from the watch-tower called of Per-


seus to the fish-curing houses of Pelusion, a distance of forty
schoines, and counting it to extend inland as far as the city
of Kercasoros, where the Nile divides and runs to Pelusion
and Canobos, while as for the rest of Egypt, they assign it
partly to Libya and partly to Arabia, if, I say, we should
follow this account, we should thereby declare that in for-
mer times the Egyptians had no land to live in ; for, as we
have seen, their Delta at any rate is alluvial, and has ap-
peared (so to speak) lately, as the Egyptians themselves say
and as my opinion is. If then at the first there was no land
for them to live in, why did they waste their labour to prove
that they had come into being before all other men? They
needed not to have made trial of the children to see what
language they would first utter. However I am not of
opinion that the Egyptians came into being at the same
time as that which is called by the Ionians the Delta, but
that they existed always ever since the human race came
into being, and that as their land advanced forwards, many
of them were left in their first abodes and many came down
gradually to the lower parts. At least it is certain that in
old times Thebes had the name of Egypt, and of this the
circumference measures six thousand one hundred and
twenty furlongs.

If then we judge aright of these matters, the opinion of
the Ionians about Egypt is not sound: but if the judgment
of the Ionians is right, I declare that neither the Hellenes
nor the Ionians themselves know how to reckon since they
say that the whole earth is made up of three divisions,
Europe, Asia, and Libya: for they ought to count in addi-
tion to these the Delta of Egypt, since it belongs neither to
Asia nor to Libya; for at least it cannot be the river Nile
by this reckoning which divides Asia from Libya, but the
Nile is cleft at the point of this Delta so as to flow round
it, and the result is that this land would come between Asia
and Libya.

We dismiss then the opinion of the Ionians, and express
a judgment of our own on this matter also, that Egypt is
all that land which is inhabited by Egyptians, just as Kilikia
is that which is inhabited by Kilikians and Assyria that
which is inhabited by Assyrians, and we know of no boun-


dary properly speaking between Asia and Libya except the
borders of Egypt. If however we shall adopt the opinion
which is commonly held by the Hellenes, we shall suppose
that the whole of Egypt, beginning from the Cataract and
the city of Elephantine, is divided into two parts and that
it thus partakes of both the names, since one side will thus
belong to Libya and the other to Asia; for the Nile from
the Cataract onwards flows to the sea cutting Egypt through
in the midst; and as far as the city of Kercasoros the Nile
flows in one single stream, but from this city onwards it is
parted into three ways ; and one, which is called the Pelusian
mouth, turns towards the East; the second of the ways goes
towards the West, and this is called the Canobic mouth ; but
that one of the ways which is straight runs thus, when
the river in its course downwards comes to the point of the
Delta, then it cuts the Delta through the midst and so issues
out to the sea. In this we have a portion of the water of the
river which is not the smallest nor the least famous, and it is
called the Sebennytic mouth. There are also two other mouths
which part off from the Sebennytic and go to the sea, and
these are called, one the Saitic,the other the Mendesian mouth.
The Bolbitinitic, and Bucolic mouths, on the other hand, are
not natural but made by digging. Moreover also the answer
given by the Oracle of Ammon bears witness in support of
my opinion that Egypt is of the extent which I declare it
to be in my account; and of this answer I heard after I had
formed my own opinion about Egypt. For those of the
city of Marea and of Apis, dwelling in the parts of Egypt
which border on Libya, being of opinion themselves that
they were Libyans and not Egyptians, and also being bur-
dened by the rules of religious service, because they desired
not to be debarred from the use of cows' flesh, sent to
Ammon saying that they had nought in common with the
Egyptians, for they dwelt outside the Delta and agreed with
them in nothing; and they said they desired that it might be
lawful for them to eat everything without distinction. The
god however did not permit them to do so, but said that that
land was Egypt which the Nile came over and watered, and

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