Page images

in these springs be certain vortices, occasioned by the reverberation of the water from the mountains, of force sufficient to buoy up the sounding line, and prevent its reaching the bottom.



[ocr errors]

XXIX. I was not able to procure any other intelligence than the above, though I so far carried my enquiry, that, with a view of making observation, I proceeded myself to Elephantine : of the parts which lie beyond that city, I can only speak from the information of others. Beyond Elephantine this country becomes rugged ; in advancing up the stream it will be necessary to hale the vessel on each side by a rope, such as is used for oxen. If this should give way, the impetuosity of the stream forces the vessel violently back again. To this place from Elephantine is a four days voyage; and here, like the Meander, the Nile becomes winding, and for the space of twelve schæni there is no mode of proceeding but that above mentioned. Afterwards you come to a wide and spacious plain, and meet an island which stands in the centre of the river, and is called Tachompso. The higher part beyond Elephantine is possessed by the Æthiopians, who also inhabit half of this island, the other half belongs to Ægyptians. In the vicinity of the island is an extensive lake, near which some Æthiopian shepherds residen passing over this, you again enter into a channel of the Nile, which


flows into the above lake. Beyond this+s it is necessary, for the space of about forty days, to travel on the banks of the river, which is here so impeded with rocks, as to render the passage in a vessel, impossible. At the end of these forty days the traveller enters a second vessel, and after a voyage of twelve days will arrive at Meroe49, a very considerable town, and as some say the capital of the rest of Æthiopia. The inhabitants pay divine honours to Jupiter and Bacchusso only, but these they worship with the extremest veneration.


48 Beyond this, &c.]—This passage is mentioned by Longinus in terms of admiration, and quoted in his twenty-sixth section. The author says he takes you in this place as it were by the hand, and makes you a spectator of what he describes.

The above is also imitated by Lucian, in his Essay on Writing True History.—Having passed these islands, you will come to a great continent, &c.-Larcher.

49 Meroe.]—The jesuit fathers, who resided long in that country, were of opinion that the kingdom of Gojam in Abyssinia was the ancient Meroe; this is disputed by Ludolf, and positively denied by Vossius. Father Lobo, in discussing this subject, enumerates the different opinions, and concludes with saying, that the ancients knew so very little of that part of Æthiopia, and have spoken so variously and so confusedly about Meroe, that as much may be said in favour of its being the modern kingdom of Gojam, as against it.-T.

so. Jupiter and Bacchus.]—Strabo, in describing the manners of the Æthiopians, makes no mention of either Jupiter or Bacchus. Every thing, therefore, must have been changed from the age of Herodotus, to that of Strabo, or these two authors must have received very different impressions with respect to the two countries.--Larcher.

At this place is an oracle of Jupiter, whose declarations they permit, with the most implicit obedience, to regulate all their martial expeditions.

XXX. Leaving this city at about the same distance as from hence to Elephantine, your bark will arrive at the country of the Automoli, who are also known by the name of Asmach. This word, translated into our language, signifies those who stand on the left-hand of the sovereign. This people, to the amount of two hundred and forty thousand individuals, were formerly Ægyptian warriors, and migrated to these parts of Æthiopia on the following occasion. In the reign of Psammetichus they were by his command stationed in different places; some were appointed for the defence of Elephantine against the Æthiopians, some at the Pelusian Daphne*, others were de


* The place where the sun is feigned to have performed his acts of religious austerity, is named the St’han or Stahein of Area, Surya and Tapana. As it was in the limit between the Dwepas of Cush and Sancha, the Purans ascribed it indifferently to either of those countries. I believe it to be the Taphantes of Scripture, called Taphna, or Taphnai, by the Seventy Interpreters, and Daphne in the Roman Itinerary, where it is placed sixteen miles from Pelusium. It is mentioned by Herodotus under the name of Daphnæ Pelusiæ, and by Stephanus under that of Daphne, near Pelusium; but the moderns have corrupted the name into Safnas.-Wilford, in Asiatic Res.


tached to prevent the incursions of the Arabians

and Assyrians; and to awe Libya there was a · garrison also at Marea : at this present period


Dr. Vincent imagines these people to be the Adouli or Aduli who inhabit the celebrated harbour and bay of Masuah. See his Periplus of the Erythræan Sea, p. 99. “ That they are not of Hebrew origin, appears evident, notwithstanding their own pretension, and the arguments of Bruce, because, in the first place, the Jews among thém continued a distinct tribe ; and in the next, their language is written from the left hand to the right. Paolino, a missionary on the coast of Malabar, asserts, that though the character is different, the principle, genius, and constitution of their language is Shanskreet, a question well worthy of examination by those who are qualified to pursue it. But as far as private judgment is of weight, I must confess that the account of Herodotus has always appeared to me the most rational; that they are a nation of fugitives from Ægypt. Strabo, in copying this opinion, has added, that the appellation they give themselves is Sebritæ, a term which signifies Advenæ, the more remarkable, as Bruce observes that the original title by which they are distinguished in their own history and language, is that of Habesh, or Convenae. It is impossible to suppose that the affinity of these two words is accidental. The flight of these exiles is fixed by Herodotus in the reign of Psammetichus, 630 years before Christ, and only 185 years before the date of his own history; he mentions that they went to as great a distance beyond Meroe, as Meroe is from Elephantine, to the number of two hundred and forty thousand; and that the name by which they are distinguished as a na. tion, was Asmack, or Askham, an appellation which Reiske and other Orientalists have supposed to allude to Axum, the Axuma or Axoma first mentioned expressly in the Periplus; a supposition which there is very little reason to discredit. In addition to this testimony of Herodotus, we have a vaVOL. I.


S are

the military stations are regulated by the Persians, as they were under king Psammetichus ; for there are Persian garrisons now stationed at Elephantine and Daphne. When these Ægyptians had remained for the space of three years in the above situation, without being relieved, they determined by general consent to revolt from Psammetichuss' to the Æthiopians : on intelligence of which event they were immediately followed by Psammetichus, who, on his coming up with them, solemnly adjured them not to desert the gods of their country, their wives and their children. One of them is said indecently to have produced the mark of his sex, and to have replied, that wherever they carried that, they


riety of evidence from other authors, that Aduli was built hy exiles from Ægypt; and if Bruce had not had such a predilection for his shepherds, be must have discovered that the monuments he found at Axuma bimself, the obelisk, the tot, the table of hieroglyphics, and the sphinxes, are perfectly Ægyptian, and not pastoral, Troglodytic, Meroite, or Greek.

51 Revolt from Psammetichus.]-Diodorus Siculus assigns a very different reason for the revolt of these Ægyptians. “ Psammetichus,” says that historian, “ having meditated an expedition against Syria, gave the place of honour in his army to strangers, and discovered on all occasions a preference to them, to the prejudice of his natural subjects.” A predilection of a similar nature was the cause of those repeated and formidable revolts, which so essentially disa turbed the repose of Charles the fifth, on his first accession to the Spanish throne.-T.

« PreviousContinue »