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VIII.

to the Captain of the frigate in which we were CHAP. to sail: and a third to the Governor of Rhodes, containing, as he said, an order for boats to take us either to Stanchio, or to Scio. Thus provided, we continued our journey to Aboukir, along the sandy neck of land which stretches, in the shape of a ribbon, from the place where our army landed, entirely to Alexandria ; having the Lake of Aboukir upon our right, and the sea upon our left.

The whole of this tract is a desert, interspersed here and there with a few plantations of palm-trees. The dates hung from these trees in such large and tempting clusters, although not quite ripe, that we climbed to the tops of some of them, and bore away with us large branches, with their fruit. In this manner, dates are sometimes sent, with the branches, as presents to Constantinople. A ripe Egyptian date, although a delicious fruit, is never refreshing to the palate. It suits the Turks, who are fond of sweetmeats of all kinds; and its flavour is not unlike that of the conserved green citron which is brought from Madeira. The largest plantation occurred about half-way between

(2) The leaves of these trees, when grown to a size for bearing fruit, are six or eight feet long; and may be termed branches, for the trees bare no other.

VIIJ.

1

CHAP. Alexandria and Aboukir, whence

marched to attack the French on th
of March : the trees here were very
from the singular formation of their
found it as easy to ascend to the top-
trees as to climb the steps of a ladder
ever the date-tree is found in the
deserts, it not only presents a supply 4
food, for men and camels', but Nati
wonderfully contrived the plant, tha
offering is accessible to man alone
mere circumstance of its

presence,

i sons of the year, is a never-failing in fresh water near its roots. Botanist: the trunk of the date-tree as full knots”; but the fact is, that it is full the vestiges of its decayed leaves, w. within them an horizontal surface, flat : exactly adapted to the reception of th feet and hands; and it is impossible them without believing that he, wli beginning fashioned

EVERY TREE,

WHICH IS THE FRUIT OF A TREE YIELDIN

(1) The Arabs feed their camels with the date stones, &"* them in their hand-mills.

(2) See Phænir dactilifera. Martyn's Edit. of Miller';'

(3) Gen, i, 29.

as

MEAT FOR MAN,” has here manifested one chap.

VIII. among the innumerable proofs of his beneficent design. The extensive importance of the datetree is one of the most curious subjects to which a traveller can direct his attention. A considerable part of the inbabitants of Egypt, of Arabia, and of Persia, subsist almost entirely upon its fruit. They boast also of its medicinal virtues. Their camels feed upon the date-stones. From the leavess they make couches, baskets, bags, mats and brushes; from the branches, cages for their poultry, and fences for their gardens ; from the fibres of the boughs, thread, ropes, and rigging ; from the sap is prepared a spirituous liquor; and the trunk of the tree furnishes fuel : it is even said that from one variety of the palm-tree, the Phænix farinifera, meal has been extracted, which is found among the fibres of the trunk, and has been used for food". We cut off a few djerids, and sent them for walking-sticks to some friends

(4) See Note, p. 407.

(5) See Roxburgh's Plants of Coromandel, as published by the EastIndia Company, under the direction of Sir Joseph Banks. Lond. 1795.

(6) The name given by the T'urks and Arabs to the midrib, or longitudinal stem of the leaf of the palm-tree. Hence the name of Djerid, given to the equestrian sport, wherein short staves are thrown by the combatants: these were originally Djerids; but this name is now common to all short sticks used as darts in that game.

VIII.

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CHAP. in England, as memorials of the spot where

our troops displayed such signal heroism.
Beneath these trees, we found some of the smaller
brass cannon-shot used by the French, when
driven by our troops along this sandy district.
Nothing can exceed the dreary nature of all the
prospect between Alexandria and Aboukir, if we
except these plantations : yet in this narrow
maritime tract, the whole of which may

be comprehended in one bird's-eye view, were of the Ci- situate the cities of Nicopolis, Taposiris Parva: copolis,

and Canopus, mentioned by Strabo?. A person 7'aposiris Parva,and actually surveying the country, considers the Canopus.

fact as scarcely credible ; for where, in this

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ties of Ni

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(1) The shape of it may be compared to that of a band, or girdle ; and it is worthy of remark, that Strabo, speaking of the district between the sea and the Canopican Canal, uses the expression OTEVÍ TIS Taivía : whether with reference to the territory between Alexandria and Aboukir, or not, others may determine.

(2) See the Vignette to this Chapter.

(3) Μετά δε την διώρυγα την επί Σχεδίαν άγουσαν, ο εξής επί τον Κάνωβον πλούς έστι παράλληλος τη παραλία, τη από Φάρου μέχρι του Κανωβικού στόματος στενή γάρ τις ταινία μεταξύ διήκει του τεπελάγους και της διώρυγος, έν ή έστιν ή τε μικρά Ταπόσιρις, μετά την Νικόπολιν και το Ζεφύριον· άκρα ναΐσκον έχουσα Αρσινόης Αφροδίτης το δε παλαιόν, και θωνίν τινα πόλιν ενταύθα φασιν κ. τ.λ. “ Post fossam, quæ Schediam et Canopum ducit, est navigatio secundum maritimam oram ei, quæ a Pharo usque ad Canopicum ostium perducit, æqualibus semper spatiis opposita : angusta enim quædam fascia inter pelagus et fossam extenditur, in qua est Parra Taposiris, post Nicopolim ac Zephy. rium, et promontorium ac Veneris Arsinoës sacellum habet. Hoc in luco dicunt olim urbem Thonim fuisse, &c." Strabon. Geog. lib. xvii. p. 1135. Oxon. 1807.

VIU.

confined and desert space, could those cities CHAP. have been placed ? Notwithstanding the very general observation to which the whole district has been recently exposed, nothing is less decided than the locality of any one of those places. Until lately, we had not the smallest idea of the geography of this part of Egypt'; and even now, when we are become acquainted with it, it exhibits only a long ridge of sand, extending east and west, for about a dozen or fifteen miles, which seems liable, at every instant, to be washed into the sea. If, as some have supposedo, Aboukir denote the site of Canopus, the ruins engraved by Denon? under that name may have belonged to Parva Taposirisø; or to the antient fane, alluded to by

(4) See any of the Maps of Egypt previous to the landing of the English army in 1801.

(5) See thie" Survey of the Country between Aboukir and ALEXANDRIA," Map facing p. 340 of the Third Volume, Octavo edit.

(6) See the Notes to the Oxford edit. of Strabo, p. 1135, note 31. (7) See Pl. 8. Fig. 2. tom. II. of the large Paris edition,

(8) They were thus alluded to by Colonel Squire. “Three leagues eastward of Alexandria, immeiliately on the sea-shore, are the ruins of very superb and extensive buildings. It is imagined these formed part of the city of TAPOSIRIS PARVA. Here are also cut out of the solid rock a number of places which have the appearance of baths. Not far from this spot, at a short distance in the sea, may be seen the fragments of several pieces of antient sculpture, granite and marble Sphinxes, a colossal fluted statue with the head of a dog, an immense granite fist, and other re ics, plainly indicating the site of a temple.” Colonel Squire's MS. Letters.

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