Herodotus in Egypt

Herodotus lived around 484 to 425 BCE and was the first great western prose writer. His history contains writings that have survived until today. In his speculations we see him making a generalization about natural processes. Despite errors, you cannot but be impressed by his musings about geology and the Nile river.

He wrote that his own observations bears out the statements by the priests of Egypt the greater part of Egypt was created by the silt from the Nile. He formed the opinion that the area above Memphis was originally a gulf of the sea. There are many other examples such as the Achlous River which flows through Acarnania and has already joined to the mainland half islands of the Echinadas group.

In Arabia is a long narrow gulf (the Red Sea). It is only a half day's voyage across its narrower part It is my belief that Egypt itself was part of this gulf. (This is not true but an ancient lake in Egypt named Lake Moeris shrank and silted up in the same manner as he thought Egypt had! About 1200 years before Herodotus visited Egypt, the Pharaoh Ammenemes III had the lake connection to the Nile widened and deepened. By the time Herodotus arrived, the story of this reclamation project had gotten garbled!) Also, suppose the Nile should change it's course because it becomes silted up, and flows into the gulf. I have seen shells on hillsides and salt exuded from the sand that even effects the pyramids. Also, the soil of Egypt doesn't resemble that of neighboring countries such as Arabia or Libya, or even Syria. The soil of Libya is reddish countries. In Arabia and Syria it has a larger proportion of stone and clay.

The Egyptians themselves admit that the alluvial land has only recently appeared above water. But if they once had no place to live at one time, why did they make such a fuss about being the oldest race in the world? The fact is I don't believe the Egyptians come into being at the same period as the Delta as the Ionians call it. On the contrary, the Egyptians have existed for as long as men have appeared on the earth. As the Delta increased with the passage of time, many of them moved down into the new territory and many remained where they were.


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