Arabia dureth from the ends of the
realm of Chaldea unto the last end of Africa, and marcheth to the
land of Idumea toward the end of Botron. And in Chaldea the chief
city is Bagdad. And of Africa the chief city is Carthage, that
Dido, that was Eneas's wife, founded; the which Eneas was of the
city of Troy, and after was King of Italy.
Mesopotamia stretcheth also unto the deserts of Arabia, and it is a
great country. In this country is the city of Haran, where
Abraham's father dwelled, and from whence Abraham departed by
commandment of the angel. And of that city was Ephraim, that was a
great clerk and a great doctor. And Theophilus was of that city
also, that our lady saved from our enemy. And Mesopotamia dureth
from the river of Euphrates, unto the river of Tigris, for it is
between those two rivers.
And beyond the river of Tigris is Chaldea, that is a full great
kingdom. In that realm, at Bagdad above-said, was wont to dwell
the caliph, that was wont to be both as Emperor and Pope of the
Arabians, so that he was lord spiritual and temporal; and he was
successor to Mahommet, and of his generation. That city of Bagdad
was wont to be clept Sutis, and Nebuchadnezzar founded it; and
there dwelled the holy prophet Daniel, and there he saw visions of
heaven, and there he made the exposition of dreams.
And in old time there were wont to be three caliphs, he of Arabia
and of Chaldea dwelt in the city of Bagdad above-said; and at Cairo
beside Babylon dwelt the Caliph of Egypt; and at Morocco, upon the
West Sea, dwelt the Caliph of the people of Barbary and of
Africans. And now is there none of the caliphs, nor nought have
been since the time of the Soldan Saladin; for from that time
hither the soldan clepeth himself caliph, and so have the caliphs
lost their name.
Also witeth well, that Babylon the less, where the soldan dwelleth,
and at the city of Cairo that is nigh beside it, be great huge
cities many and fair; and that one sitteth nigh that other.
Babylon sitteth upon the river of Gyson, sometimes clept Nile, that
cometh out of Paradise terrestrial.
That river of Nile, all the year, when the sun entereth into the
sign of Cancer, it beginneth to wax, and it waxeth always as long
as the sun is in Cancer and in the sign of the Lion; and it waxeth
in such manner, that it is sometimes so great, that it is twenty
cubits or more of deepness, and then it doth great harm to the
goods that be upon the land.