Posted: Jan 30, 1996
 Yet I was anxious to learn from them why the Nile comes down with a rising flood for a hundred days from the summer solstice; and when this number of days is passed, sinks again with a diminishing stream, so that the river is low for the whole winter until the summer solstice again.
 I was not able to get any information from any of the Egyptians regarding this, when I asked them what power the Nile has to be contrary in nature to all other rivers. I wished to know this, and asked; also, why no breezes blew from it as from every other river* .
 One of them maintains that the Etesian winds* are the cause of the river being in flood, because they hinder the Nile from emptying into the sea. But there are many times when the Etesian winds do not blow, yet the Nile does the same as before.
 And further, if the Etesian winds were the cause, then the other rivers which flow contrary to those winds should be affected like the Nile, and even more so, since being smaller they have a weaker current. Yet there are many rivers in Syria and many in Libya, and they behave nothing like the Nile.
 How can it flow from snow, then, seeing that it comes from the hottest places to lands that are for the most part cooler? In fact, for a man who can reason about such things, the principal and strongest evidence that the river is unlikely to flow from snows is that the winds blowing from Libya and Ethiopia are hot.
 In the second place, the country is rainless and frostless; but after snow has fallen, it has to rain within five days* ; so that if it snowed, it would rain in these lands. And thirdly, the men of the country are black because of the heat.
 Moreover, kites and swallows live there all year round, and cranes come every year to these places to winter there, flying from the wintry weather of Scythia. Now, were there but the least fall of snow in this country through which the Nile flows and where it rises, none of these things would happen, as necessity proves.
 For the briefest demonstration, everything has been said; for whatever country this god is nearest, or over, it is likely that that land is very thirsty for water and that the local rivers are dried up.
 it draws the water to itself, and having done so, expels it away to the inland regions, and the winds catch it and scatter and dissolve it; and, as is to be expected, those that blow from that country, the south and the southwest, are the most rainy of all winds.
 Yet I think that the sun never lets go of all of the water that it draws up from the Nile yearly, but keeps some back near itself. Then, as the winter becomes milder, the sun returns to the middle of the heaven, and after that draws from all rivers alike.
 Meanwhile, the other rivers are swollen to high flood by the quantity of water that falls into them from the sky, because the country is rained on and cut into gullies; but in the summer they are low, lacking the rain and being drawn up too by the sun.
 But the Nile, being fed by no rain, and being the only river drawn up by the sun in winter, at this time falls far short of the height that it had in summer; which is but natural; for in summer all other waters too and not it alone are attracted to the sun, but in the winter it alone is afflicted.
 But were the stations of the seasons changed, so that the south wind and the summer had their station where the north wind and winter are now set, and the north wind was where the south wind is now Q if this were so, the sun, when driven from mid-heaven by the winter and the north wind, would pass over the inland parts of Europe as it now passes over Libya, and I think that in its passage over all Europe it would have the same effect on the Ister as it now does on the Nile.