Herodotus - The River Nile
Herodotus the River Nile dedicated to Sacha Hello this is Bertie and I'm here with some history from the ancient world inspired led by the Greek historian Herodotus but I I have a quick message with spinning off my herodotus series into a separate podcast golden all the naturally Herodotus so if you want to catch future additions of Herodotus please subscribe to her auditors in I tunes stitcher. Google play or your favorite podcast APP. Previously I've been telling you about the incredible empire built by the ancient the Persians when their great leader Cyrus died five hundred thirty years before the birth of Christ his son combine sees took over all all the lands that he had amassed including much of what we now call the Middle East young combine cheese set his sights on conquering one of the oldest oldest richest and most mysterious kingdoms of the world Egypt Herodotus visited Egypt when it was ruled by the Persians and and in the second book of his history's he describes what he found there he famously called Egypt the gift of the Nile which is why in this episode. I'm going to be focusing on the River Nile as you may know. The Nile is the longest river in Africa and indeed the longest river in the world. It is over four thousand miles in length. People have been wondering since ancient Egyptian Times where Africa's Greatest River begins gins in fact there are two niles the White Nile and the Blue Nile which join at Khartoum in Sudan and become one great river which flows onto Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea but where is the source of the Nile a learner dejection the scribe of the Sacred Acreage Treasury of Athena otherwise known as the Egyptian goddess of Neigheth told Herodotus this following theory about the source of the Nile. There was a border town in the south of Ancient Egypt called the elephant or Elephantine. It was an island in the River Nile shaped like an elephants Tusk and is now part of the Egyptian city of us when the rapids were very fierce around the island and it was impossible to travel by boat along this part of the river the local God was consume whose head was the shape of a ram which is a male sheep and who supposedly Rosalie watched over the source of the Nile he was often shown holding a jar from which flowed a stream of water according to the learning learned scribe the waters of the Nile float up from the bottomless pit hidden below the swirling whirlpools at Elephantine Egyptian King Sam Medicos allegedly proved the pit went down for ever the ordered his servants to make a long long rope and to lower it down into the pit. They could find no bottom to it. The scribe told Herodotus that half the water from the pit flowed over Egypt and to the north and the other half to the south and down to Ethiopia. This was of course absurd the Nile only flows in one direction from south to north but it is true that Elephantine was the place where the Nile entered Egypt Herodotus has another story that suggested that the Nile L. flowed from Ethiopia. He recorded that an army of Agip Shin soldiers deserted their commanders and marched into Ethiopia there. They helped the king of the Theo Paeans defeat some of his own soldiers who were rebelling against him as a reward. The king allowed the Egyptians wins to settle around a lake. That is the source of the Nile Herodotus says it took four months to travel along the Nile from Egypt by water and land to this place and it is actually true that the source of the Blue Nile starts in Lake Tana in Ethiopia but the ancient Egyptians did not know that the longer prong of the river the White Nile starts even further south with a big source rising in Lake Victoria in Uganda and smaller streams flowing in from Rwanda and Burundi as late as Victorian. We're in times English explorers like Burton speak can livingstone trump away through the deep forests of eastern Central Africa in a race to discover the true source of off the Nile. Although the start of the Nile was very mysterious to the Egyptians they of course knew all about how it flowed into the Mediterranean Sea. A large part of ancient Egypt was in the Delta region of the Nile. This is where the river looks a little like the flat palm of your hand and with fingers pointing out into the sea in between the water channels. The land was very fertile and was one of the best places on earth for growing ruining crops by the way the American city of Memphis Tennessee on the banks of the River Mississippi is named after the ancient Egyptian capital to Memphis on the River Nile. Both cities are at the head of the Fertile Delta regions of great rivers so the name sharing between an American city and an ancient Egyptian. One is no coincidence for most of history. The Nile has flooded its banks in Egypt between the months of June on September. The annual flooding only stopped when President Nasser of Egypt built the giant concrete as when dam in the nineteen sixties not far from ancient elephantine the annual flooding the Nile watered all the lands on either side and made it very easy to grow crops her auditor says says that unlike almost anywhere else in the world the Gypsies had no need to break up the fields with plows all they had to do was wait until the Nile at finished flooding and then scatter seed on the ground afterwards they would let pigs loose to trample the seed into the earth naturally herodotus. I just wondered why the Nile flooded he considered various theories put forward by fellow Greeks who wanted to gain a reputation for being clever according to one theory which she thought was idiotic every summer when the snows melt in the mountains of Ethiopia water flows into the Nile and travels down into the sea through Egypt her auditors could not believe that there could be snow in a place as hot as Africa even though this is what actually actually happens and is the correct answer to the question by the Nile flooded. The idea he favoured was more fanciful he he believed that in winter the blustery north wind blew the sun through the sky to Egypt when it was there it sucked up the waters that flooded over the Egyptian chip fields. That's why the waters of the Nile were low in winter. He's clearly describing how water evaporates in the sun but in summer so oh he said the sun returned to its normal position in the sky and the Nile filled up again with water and overflowed its banks by the way just in case anyone is wondering it's definitely not true that the sun is blown across the sky by the wind herodotus got that wrong but it is interesting interesting to see how he thought over various theories even today about ninety five percent of Egypt's population live within twelve miles of the river were it not for the river and the rich black earth which swept it up the amazing civilization of ancient Egypt would never have existed an so herodotus was right to say that Egypt is the gift of the River Nile and I'm going to drop in a personal note note here my eight year old son. Sasha is fascinated by the source of the Nile his absolute favorite TV program ever is the top gear Africa special in which the car maniacs clocks and Hammond and may go searching through Uganda and Rwanda for the source of the Nile. He must have watched it it. A thousand times is other great interest is cars in fact his first word was car and his favorite song by the way is Africa by toto and so that is why I'm going to dedicate this episode of Herodotus to my son Sasha who has a long standing ending and great interest in the River Nile and if you would like to hear future episodes of Herodotus you can of course find them on story Nori Dot Com but if you're the sort of up-to-date kind of person who catches podcasts through an APP you better look for Herodotus in I I tunes or stitch or Google podcasts or wherever you catch your podcasts I currently use the Pod Bean App and we do actually have a dedicated story Nori APP. I will post them there to thank you very much for listening and I hope to catch you elsewhere from me. Birdie at story Nori Dot Com for now goodbye.