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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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The Eastern Delta in the Islamic Era

The Eastern Delta in the Islamic Era

(p.75) 5 The Eastern Delta in the Islamic Era
The Medieval Nile

John P. Cooper

American University in Cairo Press

This chapter examines the changing waterway geography of the eastern Delta from the beginning of Egypt’s Islamic era through to the early modern period. It examines the contributions of medieval texts, particularly the geographers Ibn Hawqal and al-Idrisi, to our understanding of western Delta geography. While the nomenclatures of their era are quite different, the topological approach of these authors allows us to identify the Damietta branch in much its modern form by the 10th century A.D. The chapter considers the demise of the Peluisac branch as a natural distributary in the 9th century A.D. and identifies the subsequent emergence of waterways leading to the island city of Tinnis, in modern Lake Manzala, as alternative routes between the Nile network and the Mediterranean Sea. It also investigates the Arab re-excavation of a canal leading to the Red Sea. The chapter is to be read in conjunction with Appendices 1–3 of the book.

Keywords:   Egypt, Nile, western Delta, Geography, branches, Ibn Hawqal, al-Idrisi, Damietta, Tinnis, Pelusiac branch

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