Paulus Orosius

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Paulus Orosius

(c. 415-20)

Gallaecian Christian priest, historian and theologian and a student of Augustine of Hippo.

Historiae adversus paganos (7 book history).

Latin.


Lib. I, Chap.27

Aegyptus Inferior ab oriente habet Syriam Palaestinam, ab occasu Libyam, a septentrione mare Nostrum, a meridie montem, qui appellatur Climax, et Aegyptum superiorem fluuiumque Nilum, qui de litore incipientis maris Rubri uidetur emergere in loco, qui dicitur Mossylon emporium, deinde diu ad occasum profluens, faciens insulam nomine Meroen in medio sui, nouissime ad septentrionem inflexus, tempestiuis auctus incrementis plana Aegypti rigat. hunc aliqui auctores ferunt haud procul ab Athlante habere fontem et continuo harenis mergi, inde interiecto breui spatio uastissimo lacu exundare atque hinc oceano tenus orientem uersus per Aethiopica deserta prolabi rursusque inflexum ad sinistram ad Aegyptum descendere. quod quidem uerum est esse huiusmodi fluuium magnum, qui tali ortu talique cursu sit et re uera omnia Nili monstra gignat; quem utique prope fontem barbari Dara nominant; ceteri uero accolae Nuhul uocant; sed hic in regione gentium, quae Libyoaegyptiae uocantur, haud procul ab illo fluuio, quem a litore maris Rubri prorumpere diximus, inmenso lacu acceptus absumitur; nisi forte occulto meatu in alueum eius, qui ab oriente descendit, eructat.

(Lower Egypt has Syria and Palestine to the east and Libya to the west. To the north is Our [Mediterranean] sea, and to the south is the mountain which is called Climax. In upper Egypt the River Nile, which is seen from the shore of the Red Sea begins in the place which is called Mossylon, the commercial port, and then after a long time, flows round the island by the name of Meroe which is in the middle of a bend to the north, and [the river] induces increased growth by watering the planes of Egypt. Some historians say this was far from the source at Athlante. It has continuous sinking sand and vast lakes in a short space from the ocean and as far east to the Ethiopian desert and again down the left hand side of Egypt. Indeed, it is true, in reality everything was of the Nile being the river of the great monsters and its course rising in the land by the spring of barbarians who are called Dara. The rest of the inhabitants are called Nuhul. But it is here in the land of the Gentiles, who are called Libyo-Egyptians, which is not far from the river, that the river breaks out in to the Red Sea, as we have said, it is accepted that it diminishes from its immense size because there is perhaps a secret channel of the river which comes down from the east.)


Selected editions

Paulus Orosius, Historiae adversus paganos, trans. K. Zangemeister (Stuttgart: 1889).