ἀπό δέ τοῦ Παραιτονίου εἰς Ἀλεξάνδρειαν χίλιοί που καί τριακόσιοι στάδιου. μεταξύ δέ πρῶτον μέν ἄκρα λευκόγειος, Λευκή ἀκτή καλουμένη: ἔπειτα Φοινικοῦς λιμήν καί Πνιγεύς κώμη: εἶτα νῆσος Σιδωνία Λιμένα ἔχουσα: εἶτ’ Ἀντίφραι μικρόν ἀπωτέρω τῆς θάλαττης: ἅπασα μέν ἡ χώρα αὕτη οὐκ εὔ οινος, πλείω δεξομένου τοῦ κεράμου θάλατταν ἢ οἶνον ὃν δή καλοῦσι Λιβυκόν, ᾧ δή καί τῷ ζύθῳ τό πολύ φῦλον χρῆται τῶν Ἀλεξανδρέων: σκώπτονται δέ μάλιστα αἱ Ἀντίφραι.
From Paraetonium [Marsa Matruh] to Alexandria [Egypt] is 1300 stades [ca. 150 mi/ 240 km]. On the way, first is the promontory of “white earth,” which they call Leukē Aktē. Then the harbor of Phoinikos and the village of Pnigeus, followed by the island of Sidonia, which has a harbor. And, small Antiphrai [Marina El Alamein], further off from the sea. All this land, however, does not have good wine, their ceramics are filled more with the seawater than wine, which they call “Libyan.” The people of Alexandria drink this Libyan wine and beer very much, but the Antiphrians particularly scorn it.
Strabo tells us about people and towns along the northern coast of Egypt, while traveling from west to east.
In northern Egypt, it was hard for a wino like Strabo to get a good drink. Ever the ἱπστερ (ancient Greek: “hipster”), Strabo is quick say that his local winery is much better than the mass-produced Libyan swill. And, beer: he does not deign to say much – the Alexandrines drink both it and wine it copious amounts. We hear the same from a near contemporary. Oh, those incorrigible Alexandrines!
Strabo (64/63 BCE-24 CE)
Image source: Public Domain, wikimedia commons