Daily Archives: March 25, 2008

The Suez Canal and Egyptian peddlers

USA Today has an AP report today that a ship under contract to the U.S. Navy fired shots at a small Egyptian boat. The article explains why the small boats would approach a ship going through the canal. The full article is here.

Small boats selling cigarettes and other products often swarm civilian ships moving through the canal. These waterborne merchants know not to approach military vessels but the Global Patriot looked like a civilian vessel, said the security official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

Egyptian peddler’s are among the most persistent in the world. Many Americans are caught off guard, and even frightened, by the persistence of these men (and children). Americans are accustomed to going into a store, picking up what they want, and saying “How much?” It isn’t that way in many parts of the world, especially in Egypt. You may say, “I don’t need that,” or “I don’t want that.” “Leave me alone.” The response you get is like that of a three-year old, “Why you don’t need that?” And the persistence continues until you are safely inside the security of the tour bus and driving away. Even then the salesman may hold on to the side of the bus as it leaves his area.

The photo below was made at Edfu during a Nile Cruise. I think these men are Nubians, but I have several other photos of Egyptians doing the same thing.

Nubian peddlers on the Nile River at Edfu. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Corinth Canal

The city of Corinth is located about two miles south of the narrow isthmus which forms the land bridge, and controlled access, between the main land mass of Greece and the Peloponnesus.

The isthmus is less than five miles wide. In ancient times small ships were dragged across the isthmus on a paved road called the diolkos. Small portions of the diolkos may still be seen. Larger ships unloaded their cargo which was carried across and reloaded. This avoided the long 200 mile journey around the Peloponnesus. Nero abandoned his attempts to dig a canal across the isthmus (A. D. 67).

A canal was constructed between 1881 and 1893. Here is a photo of that canal with a tug boat pulling a ship through the canal.

Corinth Canal. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The apostle Paul likely came to Corinth about A.D. 51, during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius, and remained there for eighteen months (Acts 18). The book of Acts records the success of that work:

Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized. (Acts 18:8).

Archaeological excavations have been conducted at the ancient city of Corinth since 1896 by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.