452 Route 8. TANIS. Towns of the
formerly the pasture-land of the ancient Amu (see below), and was
overgrown with reeds and marsh-plants. The distance to be tra¬
versed depends on the state of the water, and the route varies at
different seasons. The villages resemble those on the Upper Nile,
except that there are no large dovecots here. About noon we reach
the margin of the desert, on the parched and cracked surface of
which there are occasional pools of salt water. Towards sunset. we
regain the cultivated land, and, after a good deal of waiting and
shouting, are ferried across the Mu'izz Canal. We then either pitch
our tent among the ruins of the ancient Tanis, or ask hospitality
of Ahmed, the wealthy farmer of the fishings. His son Mustafa
will be found obliging. Insect-powder should not be forgotten.
From Port Sa'id (p. 436) to Tanis, across Lake Menzaleh (p. 435), is
a voyage ot 15-35 hrs., according to the wind. No fixed fare. On the
island of Tenis are the ruins of the ancient Tennis, most of which appear
to date from the time of the Crusades. The ruins on several other islands
indicate that a great part of the lake was once cultivated land, sprinkled
with towns (p. 435). We at length quit the lake and enter the Mu'izz
Canal (p. 438), the ancient Tanitic arm of the Nile, and in 1-2 hrs. more
we disembark opposite to San.
From Tanis to Damietta or Mansura by boat in about 18 hrs., via,
Matariyeh, a miserable fishing village. From Tanis to Sinbelawin
(p. 439) we may also proceed by land (one day's journey), and continue
our journey thence by train, but it will be found difficult to obtain
horses or donkeys at San.
San is a fishing village (p. 435), where an amusing fish-auction
takes place every Tuesday and Friday at the house of Ahmed. The
faces and figures of the inhabitants are peculiar. They are doubtless
the descendants of the wild and rebellious Bashmurites and Bia-
mites who gave so much trouble to the troops of the khalifs Mer-
wan II. (744-50) and Mamun (813-33), and also of the Semitic
shepherds who inhabited the Menzaleh region at a very remote pe¬
riod. They were called Amu, or, with the article, Pi-Amu, by the
Egyptians, and the name was afterwards corrupted to Biamites.
They were also known as Pi-Shemer, which was corrupted to
Bashmurites. In the Christian period they belonged to the orthodox
church, and styled themselves Melekites, or 'royalists', a name
which they still apply to themselves in the form 'Malakiyin',
although they have long since embraced El-Islam. The hope of
bakshish makes them civil to travellers.
Ancient Tanis. The name Tanis is the Greek, and the modern name
of San the Arabic, form of the ancient Zdn or Zoan (Psalm lxxviii. 12).
The scriptural name is the same as that given to the place by the. Egyp¬
tian monuments. A statue found here, and now preserved at Bulak, for
example, bears an inscription to the effect that the dignitary it represents
was 'a governor in his town, a magnate in his province, and a prefect
of the towns of the field of T'an' (i.e. Zan or Zoan). The Semitic inhab¬
itants also called the town T'ar, i.e. Zar, and the Egyptians named it
T'a or Za (or Zor, plur. Zoru, signifying 'a fortified place'), while the
sacred name was Khont-ab, or Mesent, the place of Horus and of Phoenix,
and the Edfu of the north +. Tanis was the capital of the fourteenth
t Brugsch identifies Tanis with the Ramses of the Bible (comp.
p. 413), and supposes it to have been the town where Moses wrought his