Settlements > Pelusium

Pelusium

Background

Pelusium lay between the seaboard and the marshes of the Nile delta, about two and a half miles from the sea. The port was choked by sand as early as the first century BC, and the coastline has now advanced far beyond its ancient limits, so that the city, even in the third century AD, was at least four miles from the Mediterranean.

The principal product of the neighbouring lands was flax, and the linum Pelusiacum (Pliny's Natural History xix. 1. s. 3) was both abundant and of a very fine quality. Pelusium was also known for being an early producer of beer, known as the Pelusian drink. Pelusium stood as a border-fortress, a place of great strength, on the frontier, protecting Egypt as regards to Syria and the sea.

Thus, from its position, it was directly exposed to attack by any invaders of Egypt; it was often besieged, and several important battles were fought around its walls. In 333 BC, Pelusium opened its gates to Alexander the Great, who placed a garrison in it under the command of one of those officers entitled Companions of the King. (Arrian, Exp. Alex. iii. 1, seq.; Quintus Curtius iv. 33.)

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

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