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built the tower of Babel: from thence they were dispersed and successively enlarged, and learning, good arts, and all civility communicated. The progression whereof was very sensible, and if we consider the distance of time between the confusion of Babel, and the civility of many parts now eminent therein, it travelled late and slowly into our quarters. For notwithstanding the learning of bards and druids of elder times, he that shall peruse that work of Tacitus, De moribus Germanorum, may easily discern how little civility two thousand years had wrought upon that nation ; the like he may observe concerning ourselves from the same author in the life of Agricola, and more directly from Strabo, who, to the dishonour of our predecessors, and the disparagement of those that glory in the antiquity of their ancestors, affirmeth the Britons were so simple, that though they abounded in milk, they had not the artifice of cheese.
Lastly, that the globe itself is by cosmographers divided into east and west, accounting from the first meridian, it doth not establish this conceit. For that division is not naturally founded, but artificially set down, and by agreement, as the aptest terms to define or commensurate the longitude of places. Thus the ancient cosmographers do place the division of the east and western hemisphere, that is, the first term of longitude, in the Canary or Fortunate Islands; conceiving these parts the extremest habitations westward. But the moderns have altered that term, and translated it unto the Azores or islands of St. Michael, and that upon a plausible conceit of the small or insensible variation of the compass in those parts. Wherein nevertheless, and though upon a second invention, they proceed upon a common and no appropriate foundation; for even in that meridian farther north or south the compass observably varieth ; ? and there are also other
Mr. Gunter, about 35 ation of the former variations dayly; yeares agoe, observd the variation of the whereof the cause may bee in the several compass at Redriff not to bee greate by loadstones brought from several places. an excellent needle of 8 inches lengthe; For the mines of iron, whence they are Fet now at this day the variation in the taken, not running all exactly north and very same place is about halfe a pointe southe, may imprinte a different force, different, as some artizans confidently and verticity in the needles toucht by avouch upon experience; and our best them, according to the difference of their mathematicians aver that there is a vari own situation. Soe that the variation is
places wherein it varieth not, as Alphonso and Rodoriges de Lago will have it about Capo de las Agullas, in Africa; as Maurolycus affirmeth in the shore of Peloponnesus, in Europe; and as Gilbertus averreth, in the midst of great regions, in most parts of the earth.
Of the River Nilus.
Hereof uncontrollably and under general consent many opinions are passant, which notwithstanding, upon due examination, do admit of doubt or restriction. It is generally esteemed, and by most unto our days received, that the river of Nilus hath seven ostiaries, that is, by seven channels disburdened itself into the sea. Wherein, notwithstanding, beside that we find no concurrent determination of ages past, and a positive and undeniable refute of these present, the affirmative is mutable, and must not be received without all limitation.
For some, from whom we receive the greatest illustrations of antiquity, have made no mention hereof. So Homer hath given no number of its channels, nor so much as the name thereof in use with all historians. Eratosthenes in his description of Egypt hath likewise passed them over. Aristotle is so indistinct in their names and numbers, that in the first of Meteors he plainly affirmeth, the region of Egypt (which we esteem the ancientest nation of the world) was a mere gained ground, and that by the settling of mud and limous matter brought down by the river Nilus, that which was at first a continued sea,' was raised at last into a firm and habitable country. The like opinion he held of Mæotis Palus,
not, or can bee in respect of the pole, them severally be alwayes the same in but of the needles. It would be therefore the same place or noe.Wr. exactly inquired by several large stones sea.] Moore. old and new, whether the verticity of
that by the floods of Tanais and earth brought down thereby, it grew observably shallower in his days, and would in process of time become a firm land. And though his conjecture be not as yet fulfilled, yet is the like observable in the river Gihon, a branch of Euphrates and river of Paradise, which having in former ages discharged itself into the Persian Sea, doth at present fall short, being lost in the lakes of Chaldea, and hath left between them and the sea a large and considerable part of dry land.
Others expressly treating hereof, have diversly delivered themselves. Herodotus in his Euterpe makes mention of seven, but carelessly of two hereof, that is, Bolbitinum and Bucolicum ; 6 for these, saith he, were not the natural currents, but made by art for some occasional convenience. Strabo, in his geography, naming but two, Peleusiacum and Canopicum, plainly affirmeth there were more than seven; Inter hæc alia quinque, &c. There are, saith he, many remarkable towns within the currents of Nile, especially such which have given the names unto the ostiaries thereof, not unto all, for they are eleven, and four besides, but unto seven and most considerable, that is, Canopicum, Bolbitinum, Selenneticum, Sebenneticum, Pharniticum, Mendesium, Taniticum, and Pelusium, wherein to make up the number, one of the artificial channels of Herodotus is accounted. Ptolemy, an Egyptian, and born at the Pelusian mouth of Nile, in his geography maketh nine, and in the third map of Africa, hath unto their mouths prefixed their several names, Heracleoticum, Bolbitinum, Sebenneticum, Pineptum, Diolcos, Pathmeticum, Mendesium, Taniticum, Peleusiacum, wherein notwithstanding there are no less than three different names
and though.} Yet after Aristotel anchors digd up, but is now rich land, 740 yeares, about the yeare of Christ, 20 miles lower.-Wr. 410, itt became soe fordable that the 6 but carelessly, &c.] Yet these are Huns and Vandals (observing a hinde to now the principal branches remaining. goe usually through itt to the pastures iu 7 eleven.] Thirteen in all by Strabo, Natolia) came in such swarms over the yet Honterus reckons 17.-Wr. same way, that at last they overrann all 8 Sebenneticum.] Is aunciently divided Europe also.-Wr.
into Saiticum and Mendesium.-Wr. • Gihon.] The river which rann by 9 nine.] Of note, the rest smaller Verulam was once navigable up to the branches, and soe not considerable, and wals thereof, as appears by story, and therefore omitted. -- Wr.
from those delivered by Pliny. All which considered, we may easily discern that authors accord not either in name or number, and must needs confirm the judgment of Maginus, de Ostiorum Nili numero et nominibus, valde antiqui scriptores discordant.
Modern geographers ? and travellers do much abate of this number, for as Maginus and others observe, there are now but three or four mouths thereof; as Gulielmus Tyrius long ago, and Bellonius since, both ocular enquirers, with others have attested. For below Cairo, the river divides itself into four branches, whereof two make the chief and navigable streams, the one running to Pelusium of the ancients, and now Damietta ; ? the other unto Canopium, and now Rosetta ;3 the other two, saith Mr. Sandys, do run between these, but poor in water. Of those seven mentioned by Herodotus, and those nine by Ptolemy, these are all I could either see or hear of. Which much confirmeth the testimony of the Bishop of Tyre, a diligent and ocular enquirer, who in his Holy War doth thus deliver himself: “We wonder much at the ancients, who assigned seven mouths unto Nilus, which we can no otherwise salve than that by process of time, the face of places is altered, and the river hath lost his channels, or that our forefathers did never obtain a true account thereof.
And therefore, when it is said in Holy Scripture, “The Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea, and with his mighty wind he shall shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dry shod,"* if this expression concerneth the river Nilus, it must only respect the seven principal streams. But the place is very obscure, and whether thereby be not meant the river Euphrates, is not without some controversy; as is collectible from the subsequent words ; “And there shall be
Isa. ii, 15, 16.
geographers.) But Honterus, in his of Herodotus. geographical map of Ægypt, sets downe now Rosetta.] The Bolbitine branch 17, distinct in situation and name,
and of Herodotus. hee wrote not soe long agoe, that they 4 Which much confirmeth, &c.] This should since bee varyed.-Wr.
sentence and the following paragraph now Damietta ] This is the Bucolic were first added in the 2nd edition.
an high way for the remnant of his people, that shall be left from Assyria ;” and also from the bare name river, emphatically signifying Euphrates, and thereby the division of the Assyrian empire into many fractions, which might facilitate their return; as Grotius * hath observed, and is more plainly made out, if thet Apocrypha of Esdras, and that of the I Apocalypse have any relation hereto.5
Lastly, whatever was or is their number, the contrivers of cards and
afford us no assurance or constant description therein. For whereas Ptolemy hath set forth nine, Hondius in his
map of Africa, makes but eight, and in that of Europe ten; Ortelius, in the map of the Turkish empire, setteth down eight, in that of Egypt eleven, and Maginus, in his map of that country, hath observed the same number. And if we enquire farther, we shall find the same diversity and discord in divers others.
Thus may we perceive that this account was differently related by the ancients, that it is undeniably rejected by the moderns, and must be warily received by any. For if we receive them all into account, they were more than seven ;
if only the natural sluices they were fewer, and however we receive them, there is no agreeable and constant description thereof; and therefore how reasonable it is to draw continual and durable deductions from alterable and uncertain foundations; let them consider who make the gates of Thebes, and the mouths of this river a constant and continued periphrasis for this number, and in their poetical expressions do give the river that epithet unto this number.
• Gr. Not. in Isaiam. + 2 Esdr. xiii, 43, 47. Apoc, xvi, 12.
And therefore, fc.) Bishop Lowth river, that he threatened to reduce it, considers this passage as conveying an and make it so shallow that it should be allusion to the passage of the Red Sea. easily fordable, even by women, who But he cites a story told by “ Herodotus, should not be up to their knees in passing (i, 189) of his Cyrus, that may somewhat it. Accordingly he set bis whole army illustrate this passage; in which it is said to work, and cutting 360 trenches from that God would inflict a kind of punish- both sides of the river, turned the waters ment and judgment on the Euphrates, into them, and drained them off.” and render it formidable by dividing it number.] Why should wee call the into seven streams. Cyrus, being im- ancients to accompt for that which, tho' peded in his march to Babylon by the then true, is now altered after 2000 yeares. Gyudes, a deep and rapid river, which Let us rather hence collect the mutability falls into the Tygris, and having lost one of all things under the moone.-Wr. of his sacred while horses that attempted In the first edition the following words to pass it, was so enraged against the are added to this paragraph, but have