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transferred to it the inhabitants of the neighbouring city of Astacus. (Memnon, ap. Phot., c. 21, p. 722.) This city was much frequented by the Romans, and by Europeans generally, as it lay directly on the route from Constantinople to the more eastern provinces, and contained, in its fine position, its handsome buildings, and its numerous warm baths and mineral waters, very strong attractions for travellers. Under the Romans, Nicomedea became one of the chief cities of the empire. Pausanias speaks of it as the principal city in Bithynia (6, 12, 5); but under Dioclesian, who chiefly resided here, it increased greatly in extent and populousness, and became inferior only to Rome, Alexandrea, and Antioch. (Liban., Orat., 8, p. 203. — Lactant, de morte persec., c. 17.) Nicomedea, however, suffered severely from earthquakes. Five of these dreadful visitations fell to its lot, and it was almost destroyed by one in particular in the reign of Julian; but it was again rebuilt with great splendour and magnificence, and recovered nearly its former greatness. (Amm. Marcell, 17, 6.-Id., 22, 13.− Malala, l. 13.)—The modern Is-Mid occupies the site of the ancient city, and is still a place of considerable importance and much trade. The modern name is given by D'Anville and others as Is-Nikmid. (Mannert, Geogr., vol. 6, pt. 3, p. 582.) Nicopolis (“City of Victory,” vikm and tróżuc), I. a city of Palestine, to the northwest of Jerusalem, the same with Emmaus. It received the name of Nicopolis in the third century from the Emperor Heliogabalus, who restored and beautified the place. (Chron. Pasch. Ann., 223.) Josephus often calls the city Ammaus. (Bell. Jud., 1,9. — Ibid., 2, 3.) It must not be confounded with the Emmaus of the New Testament (Luc, 24, 13), which was only eight miles from Jerusalem. (Mannert, Geogr., vol. 6, pt. 1, p. 283.)—II. A city of Cilicia, placed by Ptolemy in the northeastern corner of Cilicia, where the range of Taurus joins that of Amanus. D'Anville puts it too low down on his map.—III. A city of Armenia Minor, on the river Lycus, near the borders of Pontus. It was built by Pompey in commemoration of a victory gained here over Mithradates. (Appian, Bell. Mithrad, 101, 105. – Strabo, 555. — Pliny, 6, 9.) The modern Devrigni is supposed to occupy its site, the Tephrice of the Byzantine historians probably. (Manmert, Geogr., vol. 6, pt. 2, p. 318.)—IV. A city in Moesia Inferior, on the river Iatrus, one of the tributaries of the Danube. It was founded by Trajan in commemoration of a victory over the Dacians, and was generally called, for distinction' sake, Nicopolis ad Istrum or ad Danubium. The modern name is given as Nicopoli. (Amm. Marcell., 24, 4.—Id., 31, 5.)— V. A city of Moesia Inferior, southeast of the preceding, at the foot of Mount Haemus, and near the sources of the Istrus. It was called, sor distinction' sake, Nicopolis ad Haemum, and is now Nikub.—WI. A city of Egypt, to the northeast, and in the immediate vicinity, of Alexandrea. Strabo gives the intervening space as 30 stadia. (Strab., 794.) It was founded by Augustus in commemoration of a victory gained here over Antony, and is now Kars or Kiassera. (Dio Cass., 51, 18.-Joseph., Bell. Jud., 4, 14.) —WII. A city of Thrace, on the river Nessus, not far from its mouth, founded by Trajan. It is now Nicopoli. The later name was Christopolis. (Ptol. — Hierocl., p. 635. – Wesseling, ad Hierocl., l.c.)— VIII. A city of Epirus, on the upper coast of the Ambracian Gulf, and near its mouth. It was founded by Augustus, in honour of the victory at Actium, which place lay on the opposite or lower shore. Nicopolis imay be said to have risen out of all the surrounding cities of Epirus and Acarnania, and even as far as AEtolia, which were compelled to contribute to its prosperity. (Strab., 325. – Pausan., 5, 23. – Id, 7, 18.) So anxious was Augustus to raise his new col
ony to the highest rank among the cities of Greece. that he caused it to be admitted among those states which sent deputies to the Amphictyonic assembly. (Pausan., 10,8.) He also ordered games to be celebra. ted with great pomp every five years, which had been previously triennial. Suetonius states that he enlarged a temple of Apollo, and consecrated to Mars and Neptune the site on which his army had encamped before the battle of Actium, adorning it with naval trophies. (Aug., 18.—Strab., l.c.) Having afterward fallen to decay, it was restored by the Emperor Julian. (Mamert., Paneg.—Niceph., 14, 39.) Hierocles terms it the metropolis of Old Epirus (p. 651). St. Paul, in his Epistle to Titus (3, 12), speaks of his intention of wintering at Nicopolis: it is probable he there alludes to this city, though that is not quite certain.— Modern travellers describe the remains of Nicopolis as very extensive: the site which they occupy is now known by the name of Preresa Vecchia. (Hughes's Travels, vol. 2, p. 412.-Holland's Travels, vol. 1, p. 103.—Cramer's Anc. Greece, vol. 2, p. 135, seqq.) NicostRXtus, ene of the sons of Aristophanes, and ranked among the poets of the Middle Comedy. The titles of some of his own and his brothers' comedies are preserved in Athenaeus. The names of his brothers were Araros and Philippus. None of the three appear to have inherited any considerable portion of their father's abilities. (Theatre of the Greeks, p. l 15, 4th ed.) Niger, Caius PescenNius, appears to have been of humble origin, but his great military talents recommended him successively to the notice of Marcus Aurelius, Commodus, and Pertinax, by whom he was employed in offices of trust and honour. He was consul together with Septimius Severus, and obtained the government of Syria. On the murder of Pertinax, A.D. 193, the empire was exposed for sale by the praetorian guards, and was purchased by Didius Julianus, whom the senate was compelled to acknowledge as emperor. The people, however, did not tamely submit to this indignity, and three generals, at the head of their respective legions, Septimius Severus, who commanded in Pannonia, Clodius Albinus in Britain, and Pescennius Niger in Syria, refused to acknowledge the nomination of the praetorians, and claimed each the empire. Of these Niger was the most popular, and his cause was warmly espoused by all the provinces of the East. But he did not possess the energy and activity of his rival Severus. Instead of hastening to Italy, where his presence was indis. pensable, he quietly remained at Antioch, while Sey erus marched to Rome, dethroned Didius, and made activo preparations for prosecuting the war against Niger in Asia. Roused at length from his inactivity, Niger crossed over to Europe, and established his headquarters at Byzantium; but he had scarcely arrived at this place, before his troops in Asia were defeated near Cyzicus by the generals of Severus. He was soon, however, able to collect another army, which he commanded in person; but, being defeated successively near Nicaea and at Issus, he abandoned his troops, and fled towards the Euphrates, with the intention of seeking refuge among the Parthians. But before he could reach the Euphrates, he was overtaken by a detachment of the enemy, and put to death on the spot. (Spartian., Wit. Nig.—Aurel. Vict., c. 20. — Eutrop., S, 10. —Encycl. Us. Knowl., vol. 16, p. 223.) Niger, or rather Nigir, a name which has been given till lately to a large river, mentioned by ancient as well as modern geographers as flowing through the interior of Libya or Central Africa. . Herodotus (2, 32) gives an interesting account of five young men of the Libyan nation of the Nasamones, which dwelt on the coast of the greater Syrtis, who proceeded on a journey of discovery into the interior. s:" traversing in a southern direction the inhabited region, and next to it the country of the wild beasts, they crossed the great sandy desert in a western direction for many days, until they arrived at a country inhabited by men of low stature, who conducted them through extensive marshes to a city built on a great river, which contained crocodiles, and flowed towards the rising sun. This information Herodotus derived from the Greeks of Cyrene, who had it from Etearchus, king of the Ammonii, who said that the river in question was a branch of the Egyptian Nile, an opinion in which the historian acquiesced. (Vid. Nasamones, and Africa.) —Strabo seems to have known little of the interior of Africa and its rivers: he cites the opposite testimonies of Posidonius and Artemidorus, the former of whom said that the rivers of Libya were few and small, while the latter stated that they were large and numerous.-Pliny (5, 1) gives an account of the expedition into Mauritania of the Roman commander Suetonius Paulinus, who (A.D. 41) led a Roman army across the Atlas, and, after passing a desert of black sand and burned rocks, arrived at a river called Ger, in some MSS. Niger, near which lived the Canarii, next to whom were the Perorsi, an Ethiopian tribe; and farther inland were the Pharusii, as Pliny states above in the same chapter. The Canarii inhabited the country now called Sus, in the southern part of the empire of Marocco, near Cape Nun, and opposite to the Fortunate or Canary Islands; and the Perorsi dwelt to the south of them along the seacoast. The Ger or Niger of Suetonius Paulinus, which he met after crossing the Atlas, must have been one of the streams which flow from the southern side of the great Atlas, through the country of Tafilelt, and which lose themselves in the southern desert. One of these streams is still called Ghir, and runs through Segelmessa ; and this, in all probability, is the Ger or Niger of the Roman commander. Ger or Gir seems, in fact, to be an old generic African appellation for “river.” As for the des. ert which Suetonius crossed before he arrived at the Ger, it could evidently not be the great desert, which spread far to the south of the Canarii, but one of the desert tracts which lay immediately south of the Atlas. Caillié describes the inhabited parts of Draha, Tafilelt, and Segelmessa as consisting of valleys and small plains, enclosed by steril and rocky tracts of desert country.—But, besides the Ger or Niger of Suetonius, Pliny in several places (5, 8, seq.; 8, 21) speaks of another apparently distinct river, the Nigris of Æthiopia, which he compares with the Nile, “swelling at the same seasons, having similar animals living in its waters, and, like the Nile, producing the calamus and papyrus.” In his extremely confused account, which he derived from the authority of Juba II, king of Mauritania, he mixes up the Nigris and the Nile together with other rivers, as if all the waters of Central Africa formed but one water-course, which seems to have been a very prevalent notion of old. He says (5,9) that the Nile had its origin in a mountain of Lower Mauritania, not far from the ocean; that it flowed through sandy deserts, in which it was concealed for several days; that it reappeared in a great lake in Mauritania Caesariensis, was again hidden for twenty days in deserts, and then rose again in the sources of the Nigris, which river, separating Africa (meaning Northern Africa) from Aothiopia, flowed through the middle of AEthiopia, and became the branch of the Nile called Astapus. The same story, though without any mention of the Nigris, is alluded to by Vitruvius, Strabo, and others; and Mela (3, 9) adds, that the river at its source was called Daras, which is still the name of a river that flows along the eastern side of the southern chain of the Atlas of Marocco, and through the province of the same name which lies west of Tafilelt, and is nominally subject to Marocco. The Dara or Draha has a southern course towards the desert, but its termination
is unknown. There is another river, the Akassa, called also Wadi Nun, on the west side of the Adrar ridge, or Southern Atlas, which flows through the country of Sus in a western direction, enters the sea to the south of Cape Nun, and seems to correspond to the Daras or Daratus of Ptolemy. —Throughout all these confused notions of the hydrography of interior Africa entertained by the ancients, one constant report or tradition is apparent, namely, that of the existence of a large river south of the great desert, and flowing towards the east. It is true that Herodotus, Strabo, Pliny, and their respective authorities, thought that this river flowed into the Nile, but Mela seems to have doubted this, for he says that when the river reached the middle of the continent, it was not known what became of it. — Ptolemy, who wrote later than the preceding geographers, and seems to have had better information concerning the interior of Africa, after stating that “Libya Interior is bounded on the north by the two Mauritaniae, and by Africa and Cyrenaica; on the east by Marmarica, and by the AEthiopia which lies south of Egypt; on the south by Interior AEthiopia, in which is the country of Agisymba; and on the west by the Western Ocean, from the Hesperian Gulf to the frontier of Mauritania Tingitana,” proceeds to enumerate various positions on the coast of the ocean; after which he mentions the chief mountains of Libya, and the streams that flow from them to the sea. He then adds, “In the interior, the two greatest rivers are the Geir and the Nigeir : the Geir unites Mount Usargula (which he places in 20°20' N. lat. and 50° E. long.) with the Garamantic pharanx (the name of a mountain which he had previously stated to be in 10° N. lat. and 33° E. o A river diverges from it at 42° E. long, and 16° N. lat., and makes the lake Chelonides, of which the middle is in 49° E. long, and 20° N. lat. This river is said to be lost under ground, and to reappear, forming another river, of which the western end is at 46° E. long and 16° N., lat. The eastern part of the river forms the Lake Nuba, the site of which is 50° E. long. and 15° N. lat.” The positions here assigned to the Geir, and the direction of its main stream, from the Garamantic mountain to Mount Usargula, being southeast and northwest, seem to point out for its representative either the Shary of Bornou, and its supposed affluent, the Bahr Kulla of Browne, or perhaps the Bahr Missclad of the same traveller, called Om Teymam by Burckhardt, who says that its indigenous appellation is Gir, a large stream coming from about 10° N. lat., and flowing northwest through Wadai, west of the borders of Darfur. The Misselad is supposed to flow into Lake Fittre : , we do not know whether any communication exists between Lake Fittre and the Tschadd. In fact, it appears that several streams, besides the Bakr Kulla and the Bahr Misselad, all coming from the great southern range, or Mountains of the Moom, flow in a northwest direction through the countries lying between Bornou and Darfur, and the Geir of Ptolemy may have been the representative of any or all of them.—We now come to Ptolemy's Nigeir, a name which, having been mistaken for the Latin word Niger, has added to the confusion on the subject. Nigeir is a compound of the general appellative Geir or Gir, which is found applied to various rivers in different parts of Africa, and the prefix Ni or N', which is found in several names of the same region reported by Denham and Caillie. Ptolemy makes the Nigeir quite a distinct river from the Geir, and places it to the westward. He says that it joins the mountain Mandrus, 19° N. lat. and 14° E. long., with the mountain Thala, 10° N. lat. and 38° E. long. Its course is thereby defined as much longer and in a less oblique line to the equator than that of the Geir. In fact, it would correspond tolerably well (allowing for the impersection of the means of observation in ancient times) with the actual direction of the course of the Joliba and that of the river of Sakkatoo, supposing that river to form a communication with Lake Tschadd, as Ptolemy says that the Nigeir has a divergent to the lake Libye, which he places in 16° 30' N. lat. and 35° E. long, and the words of the text seem to express that the water ran into the lake; so that the course of the Nigeir, according to Ptolemy, as well as his predecessors, was easterly, as the Joliba or Quorra actually runs for a great part of its course. “The lake Libye,” observes a distinguished geographer, “to which there was an easterly divergent, I strongly suspect to have been the lake Tschadd, notwithstanding that the position of Libye falls 300 geographical miles northwestward of this lake; for the name of Libye favours the presumption that it was the principal lake in the interior of Libya; it was very natural that Ptolemy, like many of the moderns, should have been misinformed as to the communication of the river with -that lake, and that he should have mistaken two rivers flowing from the same ridge in opposite directions, one to the Quorra and the other to the Tschadd (I allude to the Sakkatoo and the Yeu rivers), for a single communication from the Quorra to the lake.” (Leake's paper “On the Quorra and Niger,” in the second volume of the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, 1832.)—But Ptolemy, after all, may not have been so much misinformed with respect to a communication existing between the lake and his Nigeir, if, as is now strongly suspected, the communication really exists, though in an inverse di• rection from that which Ptolemy appears to have understood. It is surmised that the river Tschadda, which, at its junction with the Quorra, just above the beginning of the delta, is larger than the Quorra itself, receives an outlet from the lake somewhere about the town of Jacobah. (Captain W. Allen, R. N., On a new construction of a Map of a Portion of Western Africa, &c.—Journal of the Royal Geogr. Soc. of London, vol. 8, 1838.) If this surmise prove true, it would explain the statement of the Arabian geographers of the middle ages, Edrisi, Abulfeda, and Leo Africanus, who state that the Nil-el-Abid, or river of the negroes, flowed from east to west. The Tschad. da then would be the river of the Arabian, and the Joliba or Upper Quorra that of the Greek and Roman, geographers. Both were ignorant of the real termination of their respective streams. “It is nevertheless remarkable, that the distance laid by Ptolemy between his source of the river and the western coast is the same as that given by modern observations; that Thamondocana, one of the towns on the Nigeir, is exactly coincident with Tombuctoo, as recently laid down by M. Jomard from the itinerary of M. Caillié ; that the length of the course resulting from Ptolemy's positions is nearly equal to that of the Quorra, as far as the mountains of Kong, with the addition of the Tschadda or Shary of Funda ; and that his position of Mount Thala, at the southeastern extremity of the Nigeir, is very near that in which we may suppose the Tschadda to have its origin; so that it would seem as if Ptolemy, like Sultan Bello and other modern Africans, had considered the Tschadda as a continuation of the main river, though he knew the Egyptian Nile too well to fall into the modern error of supposing the Nigeir to be a branch of the Nile. The mountains of Kong, and the passage of the river through them at right angles to their direction, formed a natural termination to the extent of the geographer's knowledge; in like manner, as among ourselves, the presumed, and at length the ascertained, existence of those mountains, has been the chief obstacle to a belief that the river terminated in the Atlantic.” (Leake's Paper “On the Quorra and Niger,” already quoted.)—The opinions established by the Arabian geographers of the middle ages, that the Niger flow
ed westward, ied Europeans to look for its estuary in the Senegal, Gambia, and Rio Grande ; but, upon examination of those rivers, the mistake was ascer. tained; and D'Anville and other geographers separated the course of the Senegal from that of the Niger, and of the latter from that of the Nile... Mungo Park was the first European who saw the great internal river of Soudan flowing towards the east, and called Joliba. He traced it in two different journeys, from Bammakoo, about ten days from its source, to Boussa, where he was unfortunately killed in 1806. Clapperton crossed the river at Boussa on his second journey to Sakkatoo, in 1826; and, after his death, his faithful servant, Richard Lander, undertook to navigate the river from Boussa to its mouth. In 1827 he proceeded from Badagry, on the coast, to Boussa, and there embarked on the river. He found that it flowed in a southern direction, receiving several large rivers from the east; among others, the noble Tschadda, after which the united stream passed through an opening in the Kong chain, and that, after issuin from the mountains, it sent off several branches bot east and west towards the coast, while he himself reached the sea by the branch known till then by the name of Rio Nun. — From all, then, that has been stated, it will satisfactorily appear, that the great river of the Libya of Herodotus, the Nigris of Pliny, the Nigeir of Ptolemy, and the Niger of modern geography, are one and the same river with the Quorra. M. Walckenaer (Recherches Geographiques sur l'Interieur de l'Afrique Septentrionale) has maintained the negative side of the question, asserting that the ancients had no knowledge of Soudan, and that the Nigeir of Ptolemy was one of the rivers flowing from the Atlas; but Col. Leake has ably answered him, and supported the affirmative in the paper already quoted. (Encycl. Us. Knowl., vol. 16, p. 221, seqq.) —The singular theory of Sir Rufane Donkin, that the Niger once flowed into the Mediterranean where the Syrtes now are, but that it has been choked up and obliterated, in this part of its course, by the sands of the desert, is very ably refuted in the Quarterly Review (vol. 41, p. 226, seqq.). Nigidius Figúlus, P., a celebrated astrologer, and yet a man of excellent judgment. He was the friend of Cicero, and consulted by him on all important occasions. Nigidius was a senator at the time of Catiline's conspiracy, and lent his best endeavours in aid of Cicero. Five years after this he attained to the praetorship, and displayed great firmness in dischar. ging the duties of that office. He was, at a subsequent period, allowed a free legation for visiting Asia; and, returning from this country, met Cicero at Mytilene, when the latter was going to take charge of his government of Cilicia. The peripatetic Cratippus assisted at the conference which the two friends held here, and in which Nigidius, without doubt, maintained the tenets of Pythagoras, to whose school he belonged. In the civil wars Nigidius followed the party of Pompey. Caesar, who pardoned so easily, would not, however, become reconciled to him : he drove him into exile, notwithstanding all the efforts of Cicero in his behalf. Nigidius died in exile a year before the assassination of the dictator.—We have said that he was a celebrated astrologer. He was strongly attached, indeed, to this pretended science, and devoted much of his time to it. The ancient writers have recorded several of his predictions, and, in particular, a very remarkable one relative to Octavius (Augustus), and his becoming the master of the world. (Sueton., Aug., c. 94.— Dio Cass., 45, 1.) Cicero speaks on many occasions of his great erudition, and he was regarded as the most learned of the Romans after Warro. He wrote a great number of works; one on grammar, under the title of Commentarii Grammatici, in thirty books; a Treatise on 4". in four books; another On Wind; a very large work On the Gods; but, above all, a System of Astrology, or a theory of the art of divination. Macrobius and Aulus Gellius, in citing these works, have preserved for us some few fragments of them. An extract On Thunder, from one of his productions, exists in Greek, having been translated into that tongue by Lydus, and inserted in his treatise on Prodigies. (Schöll, Hist. Lit. Rom., vol. 2, p. 187.) Nilus, the name of the great river of Eastern Africa, the various branches of which have their rise in the high lands north of the equator, and, flowing through o: and other regions to the westward of it, meet in the country of Sennaar. The united stream flows northward through Nubia and Egypt, and, after a course of more than 1800 miles from the farthest explored point of its principal branch, enters the Mediterranean by several mouths, which form the delta of Egypt. The word Nil seems to be an old indigenous appellation, meaning “river,” like that of Gir in Soudan and other countries south of the Atlas. (Vid. Niger.) The modern Egyptians call the river Bahr-Nil, or simply Bahr; in Nubia it is known by various names; in Sennaar the central branch, or Blue River, is called Adit; and in Abyssinia, Abawi. The three principal branches of the Nile are: 1. The Bahr el Abiad, or White River, to the west, which is now ascertained to be the largest and longest. 2. The Bahr el Azrek, or Blue River, in the centre. 3. The Tarazze, or Atbara, which is the eastern branch. These three branches were known to Ptolemy, who seems to have considered the western as the true Nile, and to have called the Bahr el Azrek by the name of Astapus, and the Tacazze by the appellation of Astaboras. He fixed the sources of the western river in numerous lakes at the foot of the Mountains of the Moon, which he placed in 10° S. lat. Strabo (821) speaks of the island of Meroë as bounded on the south by the confluence of the Astaboras, Astapus, and Astasobas. In another place (786) he says, that the Nile receives the Astaboras and Astapus; which latter “some call the Astasobas, and say that the Astapus is another river, which flows from some lakes in the south, and makes pretty nearly the direct course of the Nile, and is swollen by summer-rains.” While these passages certainly prove that the ancient geographers knew there were three main streams, they also prove that their notions about them were extremely confused.—The Nile, as if it were doomed for ever to share the obscurity which covers the ancient history of the land to which it ministers, still conceals its true sources from the eager curiosity of modern science. The question which was agitated in the age of the Ptolemies has not yet been solved; and, although 2000 years have elapsed since Eratosthenes published his conjectures as to the origin of the principal branch, we possess not more satisfactory knowledge on that particular point than was enjoyed in his days by the philosophers of Alexandrea. The repeated failures which had already attended the various attempts to discover its fountains, convinced the geographers of Greece and Rome that success was impossible, and that it was the will of the gods to conceal from all generations this great secret of nature. Homer, in language sufficiently ambiguous, describes it as a stream descending from heaven. Herodotus made inquiry in regard to its commencement, but soon saw reason to relinquish the attempt as altogether fruitless. Alexander the Great, and Ptolemy Philadelphus, engaged in the same undertaking, and despatched persons well qualified by their knowledge for the arduous task; but who, nevertheless, like the great father of history himself, travelled and inquired in vain. Pomponius Mela was doubtful whether it did not rise in the country of the Antipodes. Pliny traced it in imagination to a mountain in the Lower Mauritania,
while Euthemenes was of opinion that it proceeded from the borders of the Atlantic, and penetrated through the heart of Africa, dividing it into two continents. Virgil (Georg., 4, 290) appears to have favoured a conjecture, which also found supporters at a later period, that the Nile proceeded from the east, and might be identified with one of the great rivers of Asia. (Russell's Egypt, p. 32, seqq.)—The numerous reports of the natives, who call the Mountains of the Moon by the Arabic version of the same name Ibalu 'l Kamari, though generally pronounced Ibali 'l Kumri, which would inean “blue mountains,” seem to agree in placing the sources of the Abiad several degrees north of the equator, at nearly an equal distance between the eastern and western coasts of Africa. But we have no positive information either as to the true position of the sources or of the mountains themselves. The Bahr el Azrek, or Blue River, which was long supposed to be the main branch of the Nile, and which Bruce also took for such, has three sources in the high land of Gojam, near the village of Geesh, southwest of Lake Dembea, in 10° 59' 25° N. lat., and 36° 55' 30" E. long., according to Bruce's observations. The sources of the Azrek appear to have been visited by Father Paez, and perhaps by other missionaries, long before Bruce. The vast importance attached to that discovery has become much diminished since the information which we have acquired of the Abiad, whose sources are still unexplored, and still involved in that mystery which the ancients represent as hovering about the fountains of
the Nile. The Tacazze rises in the high mountains.
of Lasta, in about 11° 40' N. lat., and 39° 40' E. long. Its sources were known to the Jesuit missionaries in Abyssinia, and have been visited of late years by Pearce.—The Nile, from the confluence of the Tacazze down to its entrance into the Mediterranean, a distance of 1200 geographical miles measured along the course of the river, receives no permanent streams; but in the season of rains it has wadys or torrents flowing into it from the mountains that lie between it and the Red Sea. North of Argo, in 19° 40' N. lat., the Nile enters the province of Dar Mahass, in Lower Nubia, where it forms a cataract or rapid, commonly called the third cataract by those who ascend the river. After several windings, the river inclines to the northeast; and near 22° N. lat. forms the second cataract, called Wady Halfa, after which it passes the splendid temple of Ipsambul. Continuing its northeast course, the Nile, at about 24° N. lat., forms the last cataract, between granite rocks which cross the river near Assouan, the ancient Syene. After entering the boundaries of Egypt, the Nile flows through the whole length of that country, which it waters and
fertilizes, especially the Delta. Egypt, in fact, owes to
the Nile its very existence as a productive and habitable region, and accordingly, in olden times, the people worshipped the beneficent river as their tutelary god.
1. The Delta.
The Nile, issuing from the valley a few miles north of Cairo, enters the wide low plain which, from its triangular form and its resemblance to the letter A, received from the Greeks the name of the Delta. The river, at a place called Batu el Bahara, near the ancient Cercasorus, divides into two branches, the one of which, flowing to Rosetta, and the other to Damietta, enclose between them the present Delta. These two arms or branches were anciently called the Canopic and Phatnitic. The figure of the Delta is now determined by these two branches, although the cultivated plain known by that name extends considerably beyond to the east and west, as far as the sandy desert on either side. In ancient times, however, the triangle of the Delta was much more obtuse at its apex, as its right side was formed by the Pelusiac branch, which, detaching itself from the Nile higher up than the Damietta branch, flowed to Pelusium, at the eastern extremity of Lake Menzaleh. This branch is now in a great measure choked up, though it still serves partly for the purpose of irrigation. During our winter months, which are the spring of Egypt, the Delta, as well as the valley of the Nile, looks like a delightful garden, smiling with verdure, and enamelled with the blossoms of trees and plants. Later in the year the soil becomes parched and dusty ; and in May the" suffocating khamseen begins to blow frequently from the south, sweeping along the fine sand, and causing various diseases, until the rising of the beneficent river comes again to refresh the land.—For some remarks on the fertility of Egypt, and of the o: o particular, consult the article Egypt, $ 1, page 35, col. 1.
2. Mouths of the Nile, and Inundation of the Ruver.
The ancients were acquainted with, and mention, seven mouths of the Nile, with respect to the changes in which, the following are the most established results. 1. The Canopic mouth, now partly confounded with the canal of Alexandrea, and partly lost in Lake Etko. 2. The Bolbitine mouth at Rosetta. 3. The Sebennytic mouth, probably the opening into the present Lake Burlos. 4. The Phatnitic or Bucolic at Damietta. 5. The Mendesian, which is lost in the Lake Menzaleh, the mouth of which is represented by that of Dibeh. 6. The Tanitic or Saitic, which corresponds to the Moes canal. 7. The Pelusiac mouth seems to be represented by what is now the most easterly mouth of Lake Menzaleh, where the ruins of Pelusium are still visible.—The rise of the Nile, in common with that of all the rivers of the torrid zone, is caused by the heavy periodical rains which drench the table-land of Abyssinia and the mountainous country that stretches from it towards the south and west. This phenomenon is well explained by Bruce. “The air,” he observes, “is so much rarefied by the sun during the time he remains almost stationary over the tropic of Capricorn, that the winds, loaded with vapours, rush in upon the land from the Atlantic on the west, the Indian Ocean on the east, and the cold Southern Ocean beyond the Cape. Thus a great quantity of vapour is gathered, as it were, into a focus; and, as the same causes continue to operate during the progress of the sun northward, a vast train of clouds proceed from south to north, which are sometimes extended much farther than at other periods. In April all the rivers in the south of Abyssinia begin to swell ; in the beginning of June they are all full, and continue, so while the sun remains stationary in the tropic of Cancer.”—The rise of the Nile begins in June, about the summer solstice, and it continues to increase till September, overflowing the lowlands along its course. The Delta then looks like an immense marsh, interspersed with numerous islands, with villages, towns, and plantations of trees, just above the water. Should the Nile rise a few feet above its ordinary elevation, the inundation sweeps away the mud-built cottages of the Arabs, drowns their cattle, and involves the whole population in ruin. Again, should it fall short of the customary height, bad crops and dearth are the consequences. The inundation, after having remained stationary for a few days, begins to subside, and about the end of November most of the fields are left dry, and covered with a fresh layer of rich brown slime: this is the time when the lands are put under culture. It would seem that the river cuts a passage through a considerable extent of rich soil before it approaches the granite range which bounds the western extremity of §. The tropical rains collect on the table-lands of the interior, where they form immense sheets of water, or temporary lakes. When these have reached a level
high enough to overflow the boundaries of their basins, they suddenly send down into the rivers an enormous volume of fluid impregnated with the soft earth over which it has for some time stagnated. Hence the momentary pauses and sudden renewals in the rise of the Nile; hence, too, the abundance of fertilizing slime, which is never found so copious in the waters of rivers that owe their increase solely to the direct influence of the rains. The mud of the Nile, upon analysis, gives nearly one half of argillaceous earth, with about one fourth of carbonate of lime; the remainder consisting of water, oxyde of iron, and carbonate of magnesia. On the very banks the slime is mixed with much sand, which it loses in proportion as it is carried farther from the river, so that, at a certain distance, it consists almost entirely of pure argil. This mud is employed in several arts among the Egyptians. It is formed into excellent bricks, as well as into a variety of vessels for domestic uses. It enters, also, into the manufacture of tobacco-pipes. Glass-makers employ it in the construction of their furnaces, and the country people cover their houses with it. — We have already remarked, that Egypt is indebted for her rich harvests to the mould or soil which is deposited by the river during the annual flood. As soon as the waters retire, the cultivation of the ground commences. If it has im: bibed the requisite degree of moisture, the process of agriculture is neither difficult nor tedious. The seed is scattered over the soft surface, and vegetation, which almost immediately succeeds, goes on witk great rapidity. Where the land has been only par. tially inundated, recourse is had to irrigation, by means of which many species of vegetables are raised, even during the dry season. Harvest follows at the distance of about six or eight weeks, according to the different kinds of grain, leaving time, in most cases, for a succession of crops wherever there is a full command of water.—The swellings of the Nile, in Upper Egypt, are from 30 to 35 feet; at Cairo they are 23 feet, according to Humboldt, but, according to Girard, 7.4.19 metres, nearly 243 feet ; in the north- . ern part of the Delta, owing to the breadth of the inundation and the artificial channels, only 4 feet.— The common Egyptian mode of clarifying the water of the Nile is by means of pounded almonds. . It holds a number of substances in a state of imperfect solution, which are in this way precipitated. Its water is then one of the purest known, remarkable for its being easily digested by the stomach, for its salutary qualities, and for all the purposes to which it is applied. Europeans, as well as natives, are loud in their eulogies on the agreeable and salubrious qualities of the water of the Nile. Giovanni Finati, for example, who was no stranger to the limpid streams of other lands, sighed for the opportunity of returning to Cairo, that he might once more drink its delicious water, and breathe its mild atmosphere. Maillet, too, a writer of good credit, remarks, that it is among waters what Champagne is among wines. The Mussulmans themselves acknowledge, that if their prophet Mohammed had tasted it, he would have supplicated heaven for a terrestrial immortality, that he might enjoy it for ever. (Russell's Egypt, p. 48, 52, scqq.)