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Euterpe   


dwarfish men, under the middle height, who seized them and carried
them off. The Nasamonians could not understand a word of their
language, nor had they any acquaintance with the language of the
Nasamonians. They were led across extensive marshes, and finally
came to a town, where all the men were of the height of their
conductors, and black-complexioned. A great river flowed by the
town, running from west to east, and containing crocodiles.
Here let me dismiss Etearchus the Ammonian, and his story, only
adding that (according to the Cyrenaeans) he declared that the
Nasamonians got safe back to their country, and that the men whose
city they had reached were a nation of sorcerers. With respect to
the river which ran by their town, Etearchus conjectured it to be
the Nile; and reason favours that view. For the Nile certainly flows
out of Libya, dividing it down the middle, and as I conceive,
judging the unknown from the known, rises at the same distance from
its mouth as the Ister. This latter river has its source in the
country of the Celts near the city Pyrene, and runs through the middle
of Europe, dividing it into two portions. The Celts live beyond the
pillars of Hercules, and border on the Cynesians, who dwell at the
extreme west of Europe. Thus the Ister flows through the whole of
Europe before it finally empties itself into the Euxine at Istria, one
of the colonies of the Milesians.
Now as this river flows through regions that are inhabited, its
course is perfectly well known; but of the sources of the Nile no
one can give any account, since Libya, the country through which it
passes, is desert and without inhabitants. As far as it was possible
to get information by inquiry, I have given a description of the
stream. It enters Egypt from the parts beyond. Egypt lies almost
exactly opposite the mountainous portion of Cilicia, whence a
lightly-equipped traveller may reach Sinope on the Euxine in five days
by the direct route. Sinope lies opposite the place where the Ister
falls into the sea. My opinion therefore is that the Nile, as it
traverses the whole of Libya, is of equal length with the Ister. And
here I take my leave of this subject.
Concerning Egypt itself I shall extend my remarks to a great
length, because there is no country that possesses so many wonders,
nor any that has such a number of works which defy description. Not
only is the climate different from that of the rest of the world,
and the rivers unlike any other rivers, but the people also, in most
of their manners and customs, exactly reverse the common practice of
mankind. The women attend the markets and trade, while the men sit
at home at the loom; and here, while the rest of the world works the
woof up the warp, the Egyptians work it down; the women likewise carry
burthens upon their shoulders, while the men carry them upon their
heads. They eat their food out of doors in the streets, but retire for
private purposes to their houses, giving as a reason that what is
unseemly, but necessary, ought to be done in secret, but what has
nothing unseemly about it, should be done openly. A woman cannot serve
the priestly office, either for god or goddess, but men are priests to
both; sons need not support their parents unless they choose, but
daughters must, whether they choose or no.
In other countries the priests have long hair, in Egypt their
heads are shaven; elsewhere it is customary, in mourning, for near
relations to cut their hair close: the Egyptians, who wear no hair
at any other time, when they lose a relative, let their beards and the
hair of their heads grow long. All other men pass their lives separate
from animals, the Egyptians have animals always living with them;
others make barley and wheat their food; it is a disgrace to do so
in Egypt, where the grain they live on is spelt, which some call
zea. Dough they knead with their feet; but they mix mud, and even take
up dirt, with their hands. They are the only people in the world- they
at least, and such as have learnt the practice from them- who use
circumcision. Their men wear two garments apiece, their women but one.
They put on the rings and fasten the ropes to sails inside; others put

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