THE RIVER "NILE" SO CALLED

From Irish Pedigrees; or the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation by John O'Hart

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The ancient Irish historians tell us that the river "Nile" was so called after this Niul; and that Scota, his wife, was the daughter of Pharaoh, who (Exodus ii. 5) rescued the infant Moses from drowning in the Nile: hence, it is said, the great interest which Niul and Scota took in the welfare and education of Moses; the affection which Moses entertained for them and their son Gaodhal; and the friendship which long afterwards existed between the Feiné and the Israelites in the land of Promise. Such was the intimacy between Moses and Niul, that, we are told, Moses invited him to go on board one of Pharaoh's ships on the Red Sea, to witness the miracle (Exodus xiv. 16, 17, 18) to be performed by the Great I AM, the God of the Israelites, in their deliverance from Egyptian bondage; but, on account of his being the son-in-law of Pharaoh, Niul, while sympathising with the Israelites in their great affliction, asked Moses to excuse him for declining the invitation. Then Moses held Niul excused.

The Egyptians were the most learned nation on the face of the earth; and the Bible tells us that Moses was instructed in all the learning of Egypt. It does not however appear that, before the time of Moses, the Egyptians had any knowledge of Alphabetical writing. If, then, it was the Celtic Alphabet which Cadmus the Phoenician brought from Egypt into Greece, we may infer that the Celtic language and Alphabet were at that time known in Egypt; and that it was in the school conducted by Niul and his father in the Valley of Shinar, or from Niul and his colony in Egypt, that the Egyptians received their knowledge of Letters, and probably much of the knowledge for which ancient Egypt was so renowned. But, wherever the Feiné (or Phoenicians) and the Egyptians received their education, it was they who had the honour of instructing, civilizing, and polishing the Grecians, by the colonies they sent among them: the Phoenicians taught them navigation, writing, and commerce; the Egyptians, by the knowledge of their laws and polity, gave them a taste for the arts and sciences, and initiated them into their mysteries.

For three successive generations the descendants of the Feiné, who, under the chieftaincy of Niul here mentioned, settled in Egypt, possessed and inhabited the territory near the Red Sea which was granted to him and his people by Pharaoh. Because, however, of the sympathy which Niul and his colony had manifested for Moses and the Israelites in bondage, the Egyptians forced Sruth, son of Asruth, son of Gaodhal, son of the said Niul, to leave Egypt, himself and his colony; when, after some traverses at sea, Sruth and the surviving portion of his people (who were known as Phoené or Feiné;, as well as Gaels,) reached the island of Creta, where he died. We learn that some of Sruth's colony remained in Creta; some of them migrated thence to Getulia, in the North of Africa, where Carthage [1] was afterwards built; and some of them sailed towards the Land of Canaan, where on the island of Sor, off its coast, they founded the city of "Tyre:" this colony of the Gaels was called Tyrians. Grateful for the sympathy which their forefathers in Egypt had experienced from Niul and his people, the Israelites, after they had been some time settled in the Land of Promise, allotted to the Tyrians that tract of country on the north-west of Palestine, which had been inhabited by the Canaanites; and that territory was, from the name "Phoené," called Phoenice and, more lately, Phoenicia.

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NOTES

[1] Carthage: This name is derived through the Latin Cartha-go, from the Phoen., Chald. and Syr. Kartha, "a walled city;" which word "Kartha" seems to be derived by metathesis from the genitive case cathrach, of the Irish cathair [cawhir], "a city." The Irish Maol Carthach means the hero or king of the city; and Mel Kartha (meaning the King of the city) was the title of the Phoenician Hercules—the reputed founder of Tyre. Mel Kartha is evidently derived from the Irish or Celtic Maol Carthach. The sirname MacCarthy is derived from Carthach, who is No. 107 on the "MacCarthy Mór" Pedigree; and, judging from the meaning of the name, we are inclined to think that the said Carthach was the founder of the city of Cashel, which was formerly the royal seat of the Kingdom of South Munster—Compare cathair with the British kaer; the Scythian car; the ancient Saxon caerten; the Goth, gards; the Cantabr. caria ; the Breton ker; the Heb. kariah or kiriah and karth ; the Syr. kari-tita; and the Gr. karak. Compare also the Phoen., Chald., and Syr. kartha, the Punic Cartha, the Heb. kyria, and Pers. car —each of which means a walled city ; the Heb. chader, a city, and kyr, a wall.


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