fAlN MUSA. 6. Route. 40?
prising Greek sailors set forth to solve the great geographical problem
of the ancient Hellenic world regarding the true character and situation
of India. The Red Sea was also navigated by the merchantmen of
the Ptolemies and the Romans, who by this route imported precious
stuffs from India and spices from Arabia — the robes and pearls which
decked Cleopatra, and the frankincense which perfumed the halls of
the Palatine. The waves of this sea, moreover, wash the shores of
places deemed sacred by two different religions, viz. Mt. Sinai, and Jed-
da, the seaport of Mecca'. (Stephan.)
With regard to the Exodus of the Israelites and their passage
of the Red Sea, see p. 472. If the Red Sea is really meant, and
not the Sirbonic Lake, as supposed by Brugsch, the scene of the
passage was most probably near the modern Suez.
'Ain Musa is an oasis, the property of M. Costa (p. 401),
about five furiongs in circumference, and watered by several springs.
The traveller will easily find a pleasant resting-place for luncheon.
The vegetation here is very luxuriant. Lofty date-palms and wild
palm saplings, tamarisks, and acacias thrive in abundance; and
vegetables are successfully cultivated by the Arabs who live in the
mud hovels near the springs, and who expect a bakhshish from
visitors. Their gardens are enclosed by opuntia hedges and palings,
at the entrances to which the traveller is beset by barking dogs.
The springs, situated in the midst of these gardens, consist of
several turbid pools of brackish water. The largest of them,
enclosed by an old wall, is said to have been the spring called
forth from the rock by the rod of Moses, or the bitter waters which
the prophet sweetened by casting a certain tree into them. The
scene of these miracles, however, must have been a considerable
distance to the S. of this point; but this oasis may have been the
spot where Moses and the Israelites sang Stheir beautiful song of
praise, recorded in Exodus, xv.
'I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the
horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my
strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and
I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name. Pharaoh's chariots
and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are
drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into
the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand,. O Lord, is become glorious in
power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And
in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose
up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as
stubble. And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered to¬
gether, the floods stood, upright as an heap, and the depths were con¬
gealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will
overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them ;
I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. Thou didst blow
with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty
The oasis is also interesting in a geological point of view, par¬
ticularly on account of the formation of a number of springs, which
lie in funnel-shaped cavities at the top of isolated mounds, 4-6 ft.
in height. These springs have been described by Fraas, the geo¬
logist, whose account will be best appreciated by the traveller if