The Library of History

Page 27

Page 27 the Greatness of the Work incredible. They say it was in Circuit Three Thousand and Six Hundred Furlongs; and in many Places Three Hundred Foot in depth. Who is he therefore that considers the greatness of this Work, that may not justly ask the Question, How many Ten Thousand Men were imploy'd, and how many Years were spent in finishing it? Considering the Benefit and Advantage (by this great Work) brought to the Government, none ever sufficiently could extol it, according to what the Truth of the thing deserv'd. For being that Nile never kept to a certain and constant height in its Inundation, and the fruitfulness of the Country ever depended upon its just proportion, he dug this Lake to receive such Water as was superfluous, that it might neither immoderately overflow the Land, and so cause Fenns and standing Ponds, nor by flowing too little, prejudice the Fruits of the Earth for want of Water. To this end he cut a Trench all along from the River into the Lake, Fourscore Furlongs in length, and Three Hundred Foot broad; into this he let the Water of the River sometimes run, and at other times diverted it, and turn'd it over the Fields of the Husbandmen, at seasonable times, by means of Sluces which he sometimes open'd, and at other times shut up, not without great labour and cost; for these Sluces could not be open'd or shut at a less Charge than Fifty Talents. This Lake continues to the Benefit of the Egyptians for these purposes to our very Days, and is call'd the Lake of Myris or Meris to this Day.

The King left a place in the middle of the Lake, where he built a Sepulcher and Two Pyramids, one for himself, and another for his Queen, a Furlong in Height; upon the Top of which he plac'd Two Marble Statues seated in a Throne, designing by these Monuments to perpetuate the Fame and Glory of his Name to all succeeding Generations. The Revenue arising from the Fish taken in this Lake, he gave to his Wife to buy her Pins, which amounted to a Talent of Silver every Day. For there were in it Two and Twenty sorts of Fish, and so vast a number were taken, that those who were imploy'd continually to salt them up (though they were multitudes of People) could hardly perform it. And these are the things which the Egyptians relate of Myris.

Seven Descents after (they say) Sesoosis reign'd, who excell'd all his Ancestors in great and famous Actions. But not only the Greek Writers differ among themselves about this King, but likewise the Egyptian Priests and Poets relate various and different Stories concerning him: We shall relate such as are most probable and agreeable to those Signs and Marks that are yet remaining in Egypt to confirm them. After his Birth his Father perform'd a noble Act, and becoming a King; he caus'd all throughout Egypt, that were born the same Day with his Son, to be brought together; and together with his Son to be bred up with the same Education, and instructed in the same Discipline and Exercises, conceiving that by being thus familiarly brought up together, and conversing one with another, they would be always most loving and faithful Friends, and the best Fellow-Souldiers in all the Wars. Providing therefore every thing for the purpose, he caus'd the Boys to be exercised daily in the Schools with hard and difficult Labours; as that none should eat till he had run a Hundred and Fourscore Furlongs: And by this means when they came to be at Mens Estate, they were fit either to be Commanders, or undertake any brave or noble Action, both in respect of the vigour and strength of their Bodies, and the excellent Endowments of their Minds.

Sesostris in the first Place being sent with an Army into Arabia, by his Father, (with whom went his Companions that were bred up with him) toil'd and troubl'd himself with the hunting and killing of Wild Beasts; and then having at last overmaster'd all his Fatigues and wants of Water and Provision, he conquer'd all that barbarous Nation, which was never before that time subdu'd. Afterwards being sent into the Western Parts, he conquer'd the greatest part of Lybia, being as yet but a Youth. Coming to the Crown after the Death of his Father, incourag'd by his former Successes, he design'd to subdue and conquer the whole World. Some report that he was stirr'd up by his Daughter Athyrte to undertake the gaining of the Empire of the World; for being a Woman of an extraordinary Understanding, she made it out to her Father, that the Conquest was easie: Others incourag'd him by their Divinations, foretelling his Successes

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books