(Chapter 179) Naucratis, Mastery of the Sea, was the Greek trading city on the Canobic mouth of the Nile, about 45 miles from the sea., and 15 miles overland west of Sais, on the Rosetta mouth, though there probably was a canal between them, and the land was flooded during the annual inundation anyway. Amasis granted the Greeks land for houses, temples, and markets, and some Greeks settled here permanently. A trading monopoly was given to a syndicate of Greek cities, who appointed the harbormaster and other officials, as stated in the previous chapter. Any foreign ship arriving in the Delta had to make for the Canobic mouth, unless it was driven into one of the other mouths. If the ship could not immediately sail for Naucratis, the cargo had to be transloaded into Egyptian boats (the baris is described in Chapter 96)and taken to Naucratis through the Delta. The Naucratic monopoly had been ended when Herodotus visited Egypt, since foreign trade had grown greatly in the century since Amasis. Note that the very first sentence reinforces our recognition of the meaning of the pluperfect.


[Vocabulary] This is a short, easy chapter, but it has a couple of ornaments worth noting. There are two optatives, but the highlight is the pluperfect ending the chapter. If Naucratis still held the monopoly, this would have been perfect, but since the monopoly had ceased after existing for a space, the pluperfect was summoned. The simultaneous presence of augment and reduplication proclaims the pluperfect. The meanings of present, imperfect, aorist, perfect, and pluperfect tenses are different from those in Latin and English, and are very precise and expressive. The interesting word family based on fortos shows how words change to express shades of meaning. Note especially how tiresome, boring came from burdensome, and the transference to an unborn child of the singular of the word meaning merchandise in the plural.

In former times only Naucratis was an emporium, and there was none other of Egypt. If someone came to another mouth of the Nile, it was necessary to swear not to have come of free will, and for the swearer to sail with his ship into the Canobic. Or, if he should not be in a position to sail against contrary winds, he had to transfer his goods in boats around the Delta until he should arrive in Naucratis. So indeed was Naucratis honored.

Return to Pharaoh

Composed by J. B. Calvert
Last revised 26 July 1999