View Full Version : The Pharonic Canal, circa 6 BCE

03-28-2017, 05:02 AM
Somewhere around 6 BCE the Pharoh Nicho ll began a canal to link the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea via the Nile River. Darius the grear either re-dug it or finished it and celebrated with 5 inscribed stellae along the route of the canal.

Darius’s new canal was nearly 140 km long and so wide that two triremes could ply its length side by side. A ship could cross the canal in just 4 days! Darius almost certainly expended considerable expense on the endeavor, which he could afford to, since he was flush with gold and slaves from the lands cowering at his Imperial feet. Darius was so pleased with the results (and himself) that he even left inscriptions on pink granite boasting of this accomplishment:

Saith King Darius: I am a Persian. Setting out from Persia, I conquered Egypt. I ordered this canal dug from the river called the Nile that flows in Egypt, to the sea that begins in Persia. When the canal had been dug as I ordered, ships went from Egypt through this canal to Persia, even as I intended.

There were various attempts by various rulers, some suggestions from Aristottle suggest an attempt was begun by Senusret lll (1878 BC–1839 BC), "Next comes the Tyro tribe and, on the Red Sea, the harbour of the Daneoi, from which Sesostris, king of Egypt, intended to carry a ship-canal to where the Nile flows into what is known as the Delta; this is a distance of over 60 miles. Later the Persian king Darius had the same idea, and yet again Ptolemy II (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptolemy_II), who made a trench 100 feet wide, 30 feet deep and about 35 miles long, as far as the Bitter Lakes."*
All were frustrated by the difference in water height between the river and the Red sea.
Then Ptolemy ll, or likely his engineers, invented the water loch around 274 BCE.
In the 2nd century AD there is mention of the River of Trajan, at various times it was silted up, abandoned and redug until finally abandoned in 767 AD as a result of a rebellion in Mecca and Medina.

* Wiki

Much more here.