An Egyptian Princess (Preface to the Fifth German Edition, page 1 of 1)


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Again a new edition of "An Egyptian Princess" has been required, and again I write a special preface because the printing has progressed so rapidly as unfortunately to render it impossible for me to correct some errors to which my attention was directed by the kindness of the well-known botanist, Professor Paul Ascherson of Berlin, who has travelled through Egypt and the Oases.

In Vol. I, page 7, I allow mimosas to grow among other plants in Rhodopis' garden. I have found them in all the descriptions of the Nile valley, and afterwards often enjoyed the delicious perfume of the golden yellow flowers in the gardens of Alexandria and Cairo. I now learn that this very mimosa (Acacia farnesiana) originates in tropical America, and was undoubtedly unknown in ancient Egypt. The bananas, which I mentioned in Vol. I, p. 64, among other Egyptian plants, were first introduced into the Nile valley from India by the Arabs.

The botanical errors occurring in the last volume I was able to correct. Helm's admirable work on "Cultivated Plants and Domestic Animals" had taught me to notice such things. Theophrastus, a native of Asia Minor, gives the first description of a citron, and this proves that he probably saw the so-called paradise-apple, but not our citron, which I am therefore not permitted to mention among the plants cultivated in ancient Lydia. Palms and birches are both found in Asia Minor; but I permitted them to grow side by side, thereby committing an offense against the geographical possibility of vegetable existence. The birch, in this locality, flourishes in the mountainous region, the palm, according to Griesbach (Vegetation of the Earth, Vol. I, p. 319) only appears on the southern coast of the peninsula. The latter errors, as I previously mentioned, will be corrected in the new edition. I shall of course owe special thanks to any one who may call my attention to similar mistakes.

Leipzig, March 5, 1877
GEORG EBERS

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