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The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Mœris

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MŒRIS, a lake of Egypt, near the ancient Crocodilopolis, now Medinet-el-Fayoom. Herodotus says: “Wonderful as is the labyrinth, the work called the lake of Mœris, which is close by the labyrinth, is yet more astonishing. The measure of its circumference is 3,600 furlongs, which is equal to the entire length of Egypt along the seacoast. The lake stretches in its longest direction from north to south, and in its deepest parts is of the depth of 50 fathoms. It is manifestly an artificial excavation, for nearly in the centre stand two pyramids, rising to the height of 300 ft. above the surface of the water, and extending as far beneath, each crowned with a colossal statue sitting upon a throne. The water of the lake does not come out of the ground, which is here excessively dry, but is introduced by a canal from the Nile. The current sets for six months into the lake from the river, and for the next six months into the river from the lake.” The same historian ascribes the formation of this lake to a king Mœris who lived about 1350 B. C., and who is identified by modern Egyptologists with Amen-hotep (Amenophis) III., the Memnon of the later Greeks and Romans. But he confounds the natural lake Birket-el-Keroon with the artificial lake Mœris. (See Birket-el-Keroon.) During the annual inundation of the Nile the two lakes would appear as one. Mœris in reality was an extensive reservoir secured by dams and communicating by canals with all parts of Fayoom, to supply which with water was the object of its construction.