Ancient Egypt: History and culture
Herodotus on Moeris
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Moeris, probably Amenemhet III (1841-1796 BCE)
Hephaistos - Ptah
 

Herodotus on Moeris

    As for the other kings, they could tell me of no great works which had been produced by them, and they said that they had no renown except only the last of them, Moiris: he (they said) produced as a memorial of himself the gateway of the temple of Hephaistos which is turned towards the North Wind, and dug a lake, about which I shall set forth afterwards how many furlongs of circuit it has, and in it built pyramids of the size which I shall mention at the same time when I speak of the lake itself. He, they said, produced these works, but of the rest none produced any.

Herodotus. Histories II .101
Project Gutenberg

Diodorus Siculus mentions the lake Moeris had excavated

    Moeris ... dug a lake of remarkable usefulness , though at the cost of incredible toil. Its circumference, they say is 3600 stades, its depth at most points fifty fathoms. Who, then, on estimating the greatness of construction, would not reasonably ask how many tens of thousands of men must have been employed, and how many years they took to finish their work? No one can adequately commend the king's design, which brings such usefulness and advantage and usefulness to all the dwellers in Egypt.
    Since the Nile kept to no definite bounds in its rising, and the fruitfulness of the country depended upon the river's regularity, the king dug the lake to accommodate the superfluous water, so that the river should neither, with its strong current, flood the land unseasonably and form swamps and fens, nor, by rising less than was advantageous, damage the crops by lack of water. Between the river and the lake he constructed a canal 80 stades in length and 300 feet in breadth. Through this canal, at times he admitted the water of the river, at other times he excluded it, thus providing the farmers with water at fitting times by opening the inlet and again closing it scientifically and at great expense. No less than 50 talents had of necessity to be expended by anyone who wished to open or shut this sluice. The lake has continued to serve the needs of the Egyptians down to our own days, and it has its name from its constructor, being still called the Lake of Moeris.

Diodorus Siculus, The Historical Library, Books I, LI and LII
Translation by W.G.Waddell


Stade (stadium, pl. stadia) about 185 metres
Talent : 6000 silver drachmas

 


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