chapter  1
45 Pages

The topography of the Periplus

Whoever really began the work, there see1ns little doubt that, the original canal not having progressed very far from its starting point a little above Bubastis, it was continued by the Persians under Darius Hystaspes in the 6th century B.C., thus making an attribution to N ekho II out of the question. In the 6th century the canal reached the Bitter Lakes, where the work

M.fOITfRRANEANSEA

was suspended on account of political troubles, and it bccatne choked with sand. About 274 B.C. Ptoletny II Philadelphos reconstructed it and took it to Arsinoc, a village at the south end of the Bitter Lakes, but still not to the Red Sea. At length, about A.D. 106, the etnperor Trajan had a new canal cut, this time frorn a different starting point, near the town of Babylon opposite Metnphis, taking it n1ore or less parallel with the Nile through Hcliopolis and Vicus Iudaeorum (Tell el Yahudieh) to Thou, where it joined the earlier canal, and turned cast through Hcroopolis and Serapiutn, going thence through the Bitter Lakes to Arsinoe, with a cut joining the latter with Klusma (Suez) on the Red Sea. This canal was accompanied by a road, on which the Antonine Itinerary gives the following stations: 1

Babylonia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . mpm XII Heliu (Heliopolis} . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . mpn1 XII Scenas V eteranorum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . n1pm XXII Vico Iudaeorun1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . mptn XII Thou . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . mpm XII Hero (Heroopolis} . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . mpm XXIIII Serapiun1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . rnpm XVIII Clysma . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . mpm L

Trajan began his canal much higher up-stream than the earlier one, so that the fresh water which filled it could be used to irrigate the land through which it passed; and here there were in fact three lines of communication: the Nile, the canal, and the road just described. This canal was still working seven hundred years afterTrajan's day. 2

A Copto Bereniccn usque Poeniconon ....................... . Didin1c ......................... . Afrodito ......................... . Compasi ......................... . louis ............................. . Aristonis ......................... . Falacro ........................... . Apollonos ....................... . Cabalsi ........................... . Cenon H ydremna ................. . Berenicen ....................... .