Climat dia Cyenes



and under the climate Dia Cyenes,

Original French:  & ſoubs le climat Dia Cyenes,

Modern French:  & soubs le climat Dia Cyènes,


Quarta Africa tabula

Map of northern Africa from 1511 edition of Ptolemy’s Geography

Ptolemy, Claudius (c. 90-c. 168 AD), Geography. Bernardo Silvani, editor. Venice: J. Pentius de Leucho, 1511.

Quarta Africa tabula — Paral. per Syenem

Detail of map of northern Africa from 1511 edition of Ptolemy’s Geography
Detail showing “Paral. per Syenem”

Ptolemy, Claudius (c. 90-c. 168 AD), Geography. Bernardo Silvani, editor. Venice: J. Pentius de Leucho, 1511.


At Syene, at Berenice on the Arabian Gulf, and in the country of the Troglodytes, the sun stands in the zenith at the time of the summer solstice, and the longest day has thirteen and one half equinoctial hours; and almost the whole of the Great Bear is also visible in the arctic circle, with the exception of the legs, the tip of the tail, and one of the stars in the square. And the parallel through Syene passes, on the one side, through the country of the Fish-Eaters in Gedrosia, and through India, and, on the other side, through the regions that are almost five thousand stadia south of Cyrene.

Strabo (64/63 BC – c. 24 AD), Geography. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1917. ii. 36. Loeb Classical Library


And the distance from the equator to the summer tropic is four sixtieths; and the summer tropic is the parallel drawn through Syene. Now the several distances are computed from the standard measures that are obvious to our senses. The summer tropic, for instance, must pass through Syene, because there, at the time of the summer solstice, the index of the sun-dial does not cast a shadow at noon. And the meridian through Syene is drawn approximately along the course of the Nile from Meroë to Alexandria, and this distance is about ten thousand stadia; and Syene must lie in the centre of that distance; so that the distance from Syene to Meroë is five thousand stadia. And when you have proceeded about three thousand stadia in a straight line south of Meroë, the country is no longer inhabitable on account of the heat, and therefore the parallel through these regions, being the same as that through the Cinnamon-producing Country, must be put down as the limit and the beginning of our inhabited world on the South.

Strabo (64/63 BC – c. 24 AD), Geography. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1917. ii. 114. Loeb Classical Library

Climat dia Cyenes

Simili modo tradunt in Syene oppido, quod est supra Alexandriam quinque milibus stadiorum, solstiti die medio nullam umbram iaci, puteumque eius experimenti gratia factum totum inluminari, ex quo adparere tum solem illi loco supra verticem esse; quod et in India supra flumen Hypasim fieri tempore eodem Onesicritus scribit

Similarly it is reported that at the town of Syene, 5000 stades South of Alexandria, at noon in midsummer no shadow is cast, and that in a well made for the sake of testing this the light reaches to the bottom, clearly showing that the sun is vertically above that place at the time; and this is stated in the writings of Onesicritus also to occur at the same time in India South of the river Hypasis

Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD), The Natural History. Volume 1: Books 1 – 2. Harris Rackham (1868–1944), translator. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1938. 02.75. Loeb Classical Library


In Syene also just on this side of Aethiopia neither tree nor creature casts a shadow so long as the sun is in the constellation of the Crab.

Pausanias (ca. 120–180), Description of Greece. Volume IV: Books 8.22-10. W. H. S. Jones, translator. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1935. 8.38.6, p.95. Loeb Classical Library

Dia Cyènes

Ville d’Egypte.

Rabelais, François (1483?–1553), Œuvres complètes. Mireille Huchon, editor. Paris: Gallimard, 1994. p. 510, n. 8.

Climat Dia Syene

C’est ainsi qu’il faut lire, & non Dia Cicnes, comme on lit dans presque toutes les éditions.

Rabelais, François (1483?–1553), Œuvres de Maitre François Rabelais. Publiées sous le titre de : Faits et dits du géant Gargantua et de son fils Pantagruel, avec la Prognostication pantagrueline, l’épître de Limosin, la Crême philosophale et deux épîtres à deux vieilles de moeurs et d’humeurs différentes. Nouvelle édition, où l’on a ajouté des remarques historiques et critiques. Tome Troisieme. Jacob Le Duchat (1658–1735), editor. Amsterdam: Henri Bordesius, 1711. p. 268. Google Books

Dia Syenes

C’est ainsi qu’il faut lire, et non Dia Cienes, comme on lit dans presque toutes les éditions. (L.) — Le Duchat lit, comme on voit, Dia Syene; mais nous, nous lisons et nous pensons qu’on doit lire Dia Syenes, pour deux raisons: la première, parceque la préposition grecque διά régit le génitif; la seconde, parcequ’on lit Dia Cyenes, et non Dia Syene ou Dia Cicnes, dans l’édition de 1552 et dans celles de M.D.L. Syene est une ville sur les confins de l’Éthiopie de de l’Égypte, près du Nil.

Rabelais, François (1483?–1553), Œuvres de Rabelais (Edition Variorum). Tome Cinquième. Charles Esmangart (1736–1793), editor. Paris: Chez Dalibon, 1823. p. 291. Google Books

Dia Cyenes

Près de Syéne, ville de la haute Egypte.

Rabelais, François (1483?–1553), Œuvres de F. Rabelais. Nouvelle edition augmentée de plusieurs extraits des chroniques admirables du puissant roi Gargantua… et accompagnée de notes explicatives…. L. Jacob (pseud. of Paul Lacroix) (1806–1884), editor. Paris: Charpentier, 1840. p. 312.

in the Latitude of Syene

Syene (Assouan), on the confines of Ethiopia (Pausanias, viii. 38, § 6). The reading [greek] must be correct. It was believed by the ancient geographers that the latitude of Assouan (24° 5’ 23”) was immediately under the tropic, and that on the day of the summer solstice a vertical shaft cast no shadow there (Pliny ii. 73, § 75). So sous le climat [greek] would mean simply in the latitude of Syene or on the parallel running through Syene. As a geographical term the French word climat means that part of the earth lying between two parallels of latitude. Cf. climat [greek], ii. 13. Martianus Capella (cf. iv. 27, n.18) makes eight climata: Diameroes, Diasyenes, Dialexandreias, Diarrhodu, Diarrhomes, Diahellespontu, Diaborysthenis, Diarrhiphaeon, viii. 876-7.

calida medius [Pompeio] cognitus axis Aegypto atque umbras nusquam decentente Syene

Lucian, ii. 586

Rabelais, François (1483?–1553), The Five Books and Minor Writings. Volume 1: Books I-III. William Francis Smith (1842–1919), translator. London: Alexader P. Watt, 1893. Internet Archive

Dia Cyenes

Dia Cyenes, ou Dia Syenes, ville d’Égypte; terme géographique emprunté aux Commentarii urbani de Volaterra, Lyon, 1532. (Paul Delaunay)

Rabelais, François (1483?–1553), Oeuvres. Édition critique. Tome Cinquieme: Tiers Livre. Abel Lefranc (1863-1952), editor. Paris: Librairie Ancienne Honoré Champion, 1931. p. 372. Internet Archive

climat Dia Cyenes

in the region of Assouan, in Egypt.

Rabelais, François (1483?–1553), Complete works of Rabelais. Jacques LeClercq (1891–1971), translator. New York: Modern Library, 1936.

Dia Cyenes

«Le climat Dia Cyenes» (en latin : per Syenem) est, dans la théorie des climats, le second climat: il passe par Syéné, ville de haute Égypte, située exactement sous le tropique du Cancer (voir Pline, II, 73).

Rabelais, François (1483?–1553), Le Tiers Livre. Edition critique. Jean Céard, editor. Librarie Général Français, 1995. p. 470.


Aswan is a city in the south of Egypt. Aswan was formerly spelled Assuan or Assouan. Spellings in other languages include Egyptian Arabic: أسوان‎, romanized: ʾAswān; Ancient Egyptian: Swenett; Coptic: Ⲥⲟⲩⲁⲛ, romanized: Souan; Ancient Greek: Συήνη, romanized: Suēnē. Aswan is the ancient city of Swenett, later known as Syene, which in antiquity was the frontier town of Ancient Egypt facing the south. Swenett is supposed to have derived its name from an Egyptian goddess with the same name. This goddess later was identified as Eileithyia by the Greeks and Lucina by the Romans during their occupation of Ancient Egypt because of the similar association of their goddesses with childbirth, and of which the import is “the opener”.



Posted 10 February 2013. Modified 22 April 2020.

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