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The Medieval NileRoute, Navigation, and Landscape in Islamic Egypt$
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John Cooper

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9789774166143

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774166143.001.0001

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Ports of the Eastern Delta

Ports of the Eastern Delta

(p.209) 14 Ports of the Eastern Delta
The Medieval Nile

John P. Cooper

American University in Cairo Press

This chapter focuses on the changing fortunes of the main sea-facing ports of the eastern Nile Delta, principally al-Farama, Tinnis, and Damietta. It charts the ‘rise and fall’ of these ports with reference to changes in Delta morphology – specifically the disappearance of the Pelusiac branch in the 9th century AD – as well as geo-political exigencies related to the Crusader threat. It identifies the eponymous branch serving the lake-island city of Tinnis as fulfulling a similar purpose to the Alexandria canal in the west: providing a route between the river network and the sea that avoided the dangers of the main regional Nile mouth, in this case at Damietta. It further shows that this route continued to be utilised even after the abandonment of the city of Tinnis in the 13th century AD as a result of the Crusader offensive, after which Damietta took on the mantle of principal port of the eastern Delta.

Keywords:   Egypt, Nile, Delta, canal, river, Pelusium, Pelusiac, al-Farama, Tinnis, Damietta

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