He crossed Arabia from Bahrein to Jidda, traversed the Red sea and the desert to Syene, and descended the Nile to Cairo.
The great bronze head of Augustus Caesar, now in the British Museum, is one of the trophies of this excavation, and is very interesting as being either a trophy of war carried off perhaps from Syene, or was actually set up at Meroe by the independent native ruler in honour of the Emperor.
It was upon a map based upon such a source that Eratosthenes (276-196 B.C.) measured the distance between Syene and Alexandria which he required for his determination of the length of a degree.
It should be noted that he places Syene only two degrees to the east of Alexandria instead of three degrees, the actual meridian distance between the two places; a difference which would result from an error of only 7° is the orientation of the map used by Ptolemy.
Having determined the difference of latitude between Alexandria and Syene which he erroneously believed to lie on the same meridian, and obtained the distance of those places from each other from the surveys made by Egyptian geometers, he concluded that a degree of the meridan measured 700 stadia.'
Across it were drawn seven parallels, running through Meroe, Syene, Alexandria, Rhodes, Lysimachia on the Hellespont, the mouth of the Borysthenes and Thule, and these were crossed at right angles by seven meridians, drawn at irregular intervals, and passing through the Pillars of Hercules, Carthage, Alexandria, Thapsacus on the Euphrates, the Caspian gates, the mouth of the Indus and that of the Ganges.
The material employed for the great obelisks was a pink granite from the quarries of Syene, and in these quarries there still remains,.
The stretch of land between Assuan (Syene) and Maharraka (Hiera Sycaminus) was, however, regarded as belonging to the Roman empire, and Roman cohorts were stationed at the latter place.
In the Aramaic papyri discovered near Assouan (Syene) in= is priest of the gods (Cowley and Sayce, Pap. E.
He tells us that he had seen Egypt as far south as Syene and Philae, Comana in Cappadocia, Ephesus, Mylasa, Nysa and Hierapolis in Phrygia, Gyarus and Populonia.
At Assuan (Syene) the well-known syenite of Werner occurs.
The quarries of Syene (Assuan) are famous for extremely har~ and durable red granite (syenite), and have been worked since the days of the earliest Pharaohs.
Syene stood near to where the town of Assuan now is; opposite, on an island in the Nile, are scanty ruins of the city of Elephantine, and a little above, on another island, is the temple of Pbilae.
Aramaic papyri written principally by Jews of the Persian period (5th century B.C.) have been found at Syene and Memphis.
By some authorities Terentianus has been identified with the prefect of Syene mentioned in Martial (i.
This city was called Swan, the Mart, whence came the Greek Syene and Arabic A swan.
Syene is twice mentioned (as Seveneh) in the prophecies of Ezekiel, and papyri, discovered on the island, and dated in the reigns of Artaxerxes and Darius II.
Syene was one of the bases used by Eratosthenes in his calculations for the measurement of the earth.
Being informed that at Syene (Assuan), on the day of the summer solstice at noon, a well was lit up through all its depth, so that Syene lay on the tropic, he measured, at the same hour,the zenith distance of the sun at Alexandria.
He thus found the distance between Syene and Alexandria (known to be 5000 stadia) to correspond to - 5 1 - 6 th of a great circle, and so arrived at 250,000 stadia (which he seefns subsequently to have corrected to 252,000) as the circumference of the earth.
Knowing Alexandria and Syene to be situated 5000 stadia apart on the same meridian, he found the sun to be 7° 12' south of the zenith at the northern extremity of this arc when it was vertically overhead at the southern extremity, and he hence inferred a value of 252,000 stadia for the entire circumference of the globe.
In Roman times Syene was strongly garrisoned to resist the attacks of the desert tribes.
Syene appears also to have flourished under its first Arab rulers, but in the 12th century was raided and ruined by Bedouin and Nubian tribes.