|4. Strabo, Geography, 15.1.24, 16.4.17, 17.2.1-17.2.3 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE) Tagged with subjects: •ethnography, and ethiopians Found in books: Gruen (2011), Rethinking the Other in Antiquity, 204, 205
| 15.1.24. This would not be admitted by the followers of Aristobulus, who say that the plains are not watered by rain. Onesicritus, however, thinks that rain-water is the cause of the peculiar properties of animals, and alleges in proof, that the colour of foreign herds which drink of it is changed to that of the native animals.This is a just remark; but it is not proper to attribute to the power of the water merely the cause of the black complexion and the woolly hair of the Ethiopians, and yet he censures Theodectes, who refers these peculiarities to the effects of the sun, in these words, Near these approaching with his radiant car,The sun their skins with dusky tint doth dye,And sooty hue; and with unvarying formsof fire, crisps their tufted hair.There may be reason in this, for he says that the sun does not approach nearer to the Ethiopians than to other nations, but shines more perpendicularly, and that on this account the heat is greater; indeed, it cannot be correctly said that the sun approaches near to the Ethiopians, for he is at an equal distance from all nations. Nor is the heat the cause of the black complexion, particularly of children in the womb, who are out of the reach of the sun. Their opinion is to be preferred, who attribute these effects to the sun and to intense solar heat, causing a great deficiency of moisture on the surface of the skin. Hence we say it is that the Indians have not woolly hair, nor is their colour so intensely dark, because they live in a humid atmosphere.With respect to children in the womb, they resemble their parents (in colour) according to a seminal disposition and constitution, on the same principle that hereditary diseases, and other likenesses, are explained.The equal distance of the sun from all nations (according to Onesicritus) is an argument addressed to the senses, and not to reason. But it is not an argument addressed to the senses generally, but in the meaning that the earth bears the proportion of a point to the sun, for we may understand such a meaning of an argument addressed to the senses, by which we estimate heat to be more or less, as it is near or at a distance, in which cases it is not the same; and in this meaning, not in that of Onesicritus, the sun is said to be near the Ethiopians. 16.4.17. The mode of life among the Troglodytae is nomadic. Each tribe is governed by tyrants. Their wives and children are common, except those of the tyrants. The offence of corrupting the wife of a tyrant is punished with the fine of a sheep.The women carefully paint themselves with antimony. They wear about their necks shells, as a protection against fascination by witchcraft. In their quarrels, which are for pastures, they first push away each other with their hands, they then use stones, or, if wounds are inflicted, arrows and daggers. The women put an end to these disputes, by going into the midst of the combatants and using prayers and entreaties.Their food consists of flesh and bones pounded together, wrapped up in skins and then baked, or prepared after many other methods by the cooks, who are called Acatharti, or impure. In this way they eat not only the flesh, but the bones and skins also.They use (as an ointment for the body ?) a mixture of blood and milk ; the drink of the people in general is an infusion of the paliurus (buckthorn); that of the tyrants is mead; the honey being expressed from some kind of flower.Their winter sets in when the Etesian winds begin to blow (for they have rain), and the remaining season is summer.They go naked, or wear skins only, and carry clubs. They deprive themselves of the prepuce, but some are circumcised like Egyptians. The Ethiopian Megabari have their clubs armed with iron knobs. They use spears and shields which are covered with raw hides. The other Ethiopians use bows and lances. Some of the Troglodytae, when they bury their dead, bind the body from the neck to the legs with twigs of the buckthorn. They then immediately throw stones over the body, at the same time laughing and rejoicing, until they have covered the face. They then place over it a ram's horn, and go away.They travel by night; the male cattle have bells fastened to them, in order to drive away wild beasts with the sound. They use torches also and arrows in repelling them. They watch during the night, on account of their flocks, and sing some peculiar song around their fires. 17.2.1. IN the preceding part of this work we have spoken at length of Ethiopia, so that its description may be said to be included in that of Egypt.In general, then, the extreme parts of the habitable world adjacent to the intemperate region, which is not habitable by reason either of heat or cold, must necessarily be defective and inferior, in respect to physical advantages, to the temperate region. This is evident from the mode of life of the inhabitants, and their want of what is requisite for the use and subsistence of man. For the mode of life [of the Ethiopians] is wretched; they are for the most part naked, and wander from place to place with their flocks. Their flocks and herds are small in size, whether sheep, goats, or oxen; the dogs also, though fierce and quarrelsome, are small. It was perhaps from the diminutive size of these people, that the story of the Pygmies originated, whom no person, worthy of credit, has asserted that he himself has seen. 17.2.2. They live on millet and barley, from which also a drink is prepared. They have no oil, but use butter and fat instead. There are no fruits, except the produce of trees in the royal gardens. Some feed even upon grass, the tender twigs of trees, the lotus, or the roots of reeds. They live also upon the flesh and blood of animals, milk, and cheese. They reverence their kings as gods, who are for the most part shut up in their palaces.Their largest royal seat is the city of Meroe, of the same name as the island. The shape of the island is said to be that of a shield. Its size is perhaps exaggerated. Its length is about 3000, and its breadth 1000 stadia. It is very mountainous, and contains great forests. The inhabitants are nomads, who are partly hunters and partly husbandmen. There are also mines of copper, iron, gold, and various kinds of precious stones. It is surrounded on the side of Libya by great hills of sand, and on that of Arabia by continuous precipices. In the higher parts on the south, it is bounded by the confluent streams of the rivers Astaboras, Astapus, and Astasobas. On the north is the continuous course of the Nile to Egypt, with its windings, of which we have spoken before. The houses in the cities are formed by interweaving split pieces of palm wood or of bricks. They have fossil salt, as in Arabia. Palm, the persea (peach), ebony, and carob trees are found in abundance. They hunt elephants, lions, and panthers. There are also serpents, which encounter elephants, and there are many other kinds of wild animals, which take refuge, from the hotter and parched districts, in watery and marshy districts. 17.2.3. Above Meroe is Psebo, a large lake, containing a well-inhabited island. As the Libyans occupy the western bank of the Nile, and the Ethiopians the country on the other side of the river, they thus dispute by turns the possession of the islands and the banks of the river, one party repulsing the other, or yielding to the superiority of its opponent.The Ethiopians use bows of wood four cubits long, and hardened in the fire. The women also are armed, most of whom wear in the upper lip a copper ring. They wear sheepskins, without wool; for the sheep have hair like goats. Some go naked, or wear small skins or girdles of well-woven hair round the loins.They regard as God one being who is immortal, the cause of all things; another who is mortal, a being without a name, whose nature is not clearly understood.In general they consider as gods benefactors and royal persons, some of whom are their kings, the common saviours and guardians of all; others are private persons, esteemed as gods by those who have individually received benefits from them.of those who inhabit the torrid region, some are even supposed not to acknowledge any god, and are said to abhor even the sun, and to apply opprobrious names to him, when they behold him rising, because he scorches and tortures them with his heat; these people take refuge in the marshes.The inhabitants of Meroe worship Hercules, Pan, and Isis, besides some other barbaric deity.Some tribes throw the dead into the river; others keep them in the house, enclosed in hyalus (oriental alabaster ?). Some bury them around the temples in coffins of baked clay. They swear an oath by them, which is reverenced as more sacred than all others.Kings are appointed from among persons distinguished for their personal beauty, or by their breeding of cattle, or for their courage, or their riches.In Meroe the priests anciently held the highest rank, and sometimes sent orders even to the king, by a messenger, to put an end to himself, when they appointed another king in his place. At last one of their kings abolished this custom, by going with an armed body to the temple where the golden shrine is, and slaughtering all the priests.The following custom exists among the Ethiopians. If a king is mutilated in any part of the body, those who are most attached to his person, as attendants, mutilate themselves in the same manner, and even die with him. Hence the king is guarded with the utmost care. This will suffice on the subject of Ethiopia.
|6. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 3.8.1-3.8.6, 3.9.1-3.9.4, 3.10-3.33, 3.14.6 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE) Tagged with subjects: •ethnography, and ethiopians Found in books: Gruen (2011), Rethinking the Other in Antiquity, 204, 205
| 3.8.1. But there are also a great many other tribes of the Ethiopians, some of them dwelling in the land lying on both banks of the Nile and on the islands in the river, others inhabiting the neighbouring country of Arabia, and still others residing in the interior of Libya. 3.8.2. The majority of them, and especially those who dwell along the river, are black in colour and have flat noses and woolly hair. As for their spirit they are entirely savage and display the nature of a wild beast, not so much, however, in their temper as in their ways of living; for they are squalid all over their bodies, they keep their nails very long like the wild beasts, and are as far removed as possible from human kindness to one another; 3.8.3. and speaking as they do with a shrill voice and cultivating none of the practices of civilized life as these are found among the rest of mankind, they present a striking contrast when considered in the light of our own customs. 3.8.4. As for their arms, some of them use shields of raw ox-hide and short spears, others javelins without a slinging-thong and sometimes bows of wood, four cubits in length, with which they shoot by putting their foot against them, and after their arrows are exhausted they finish the fight with wooden clubs. They also arm their women, setting an age limit for their service, and most of these observe the custom of wearing a bronze ring in the lip. 3.8.5. As for clothing, certain of them wear none whatsoever, going naked all their life long and making for themselves of whatever comes to hand a rude protection from the heat alone; others, cutting off the tails and the ends of the hides of their sheep, cover their loins with them, putting the tail before them to screen, after a manner, the shameful part; and some make use of the skins of their domestic animals, while there are those who cover their bodies as far as the waist with shirts, which they weave of hair, since their sheep do not produce wool by reason of the peculiar nature of the land. 3.8.6. For food some gather the fruits which are generated in their waters and which grow wild in both the lakes and marshy places, certain of them pluck off the foliage of a very tender kind of tree, with which they also cover their bodies in the midday and cool them in this way, some sow sesame and lotus, and there are those who are nourished by the most tender roots of the reeds. Not a few of them are also well trained in the use of the bow and bring down with good aim many birds, with which they satisfy their physical needs; but the greater number live for their entire life on the meat and milk and cheese of their herds. 3.9.1. With regard to the gods, the Ethiopians who dwell above MeroÃ« entertain two opinions: they believe that some of them, such as the sun and the moon and the universe as a whole, have a nature which is eternal and imperishable, but others of them, they think, share a mortal nature and have come to receive immortal honours because of their virtue and the benefactions which they have bestowed upon all mankind; 3.9.2. for instance, they revere Isis and Pan, and also Heracles and Zeus, considering that these deities in particular have been benefactors of the race of men. But a few of the Ethiopians do not believe in the existence of any gods at all; consequently at the rising of the sun they utter imprecations against it as being most hostile to them, and flee to the marshes of those parts. 3.9.3. Different also from those of other peoples are the customs they observe with respect to their dead; for some dispose of them by casting them into the river, thinking this to be the best burial; others, after pouring glass about the bodies, keep them in their houses, since they feel that the counteces of the dead should not be unknown to their kinsmen and that those who are united by ties of blood should not forget their near relations; and some put them in coffins made of baked clay and bury them in the ground in a ring about their temples, and they consider that the oath taken by them is the strongest possible. 3.9.4. The kingship some of them bestow upon the most comely, believing both supreme power and comeliness to be gifts of fortune, while others entrust the rule to the most careful keepers of cattle, as being the only men who would give the best thought to their subjects; some assign this honour to the wealthiest, since they feel that these alone can come to the aid of the masses because they have the means ready at hand; and there are those who choose for their kings men of unusual valour, judging that the most efficient in war are alone worthy to receive the meed of honour. 3.10. 1. In that part of the country which lies along the Nile in Libya there is a section which is remarkable for its beauty; for it bears food in great abundance and of every variety and provides convenient places of retreat in its marshes where one finds protection against the excessive heat; consequently this region is a bone of contention between the Libyans and the Ethiopians, who wage unceasing warfare with each other for its possession.,2. It is also a gathering-place for a multitude of elephants from the country lying above it because, as some say, the pasturage is abundant and sweet; for marvellous marshes stretch along the banks of the river and in them grows food in great plenty and of every kind.,3. Consequently, whenever they taste of the rush and the reed, they remain there because of the sweetness of the food and destroy the means of subsistence of the human beings; and because of this the inhabitants are compelled to flee from these regions, and to live as nomads and dwellers in tents â in a word, to fix the bounds of their country by their advantage.,4. The herds of the wild beasts which we have mentioned leave the interior of the country because of the lack of food, since every growing thing in the ground quickly dries up; for as a result of the excessive heat and the lack of water from springs and rivers it comes to pass that the plants for food are rough and scanty.,5. There are also, as some say, in the country of the wild beasts, as it is called, serpents which are marvellous for their size and multitude; these attack the elephants at the water-holes, pit their strength against them, and winding themselves in coils about their legs continue squeezing them tighter and tighter in their bands until at last the beasts, covered with foam, fall to the ground from their weight. Thereupon the serpents gather and devour the flesh of the fallen elephant, overcoming the beast with ease because it moves only with difficulty.,6. But since it still remains a puzzle why, in pursuit of their accustomed food, they do not follow the elephants into the region along the river, which I have mentioned, they say that the serpents of such great size avoid the level part of the country and continually make their homes at the foot of mountains in ravines which are suitable to their length and in deep caves; consequently they never leave the regions which are suitable to them and to which they are accustomed, Nature herself being the instructor of all the animals in such matters. As for the Ethiopians, then, and their land, this is as much as we have to say. 3.11. 1. Concerning the historians, we must distinguish among them, to the effect that many have composed works on both Egypt and Ethiopia, of whom some have given credence to false report and others have invented many tales out of their own minds for the delectation of their readers, and so may justly be distrusted.,2. For example, Agatharchides of Cnidus in the second Book of his work on Asia, and the compiler of geographies, Artemidorus of Ephesus, in his eighth Book, and certain others whose homes were in Egypt, have recounted most of what I have set forth above and are, on the contrary, accurate in all they have written.,3. Since, to bear witness ourselves, during the time of our visit to Egypt, we associated with many of its priests and conversed with not a few ambassadors from Ethiopia as well who were then in Egypt; and after inquiring carefully of them about each matter and testing the stories of the historians, we have composed our account so as to accord with the opinions on which they most fully agree.,4. Now as for the Ethiopians who dwell in the west, we shall be satisfied with what has been said, and we shall discuss in turn the peoples who live to the South and about the Red Sea. However, we feel that it is appropriate first to tell of the working of the gold as it is carried on in these regions. 3.12. 1. At the extremity of Egypt and in the contiguous territory of both Arabia and Ethiopia there lies a region which contains many large gold mines, where the gold is secured in great quantities with much suffering and at great expense. For the earth is naturally black and contains seams and veins of a marble which is unusually white and in brilliancy surpasses everything else which shines brightly by its nature, and here the overseers of the labour in the mines work recover the gold with the aid of a multitude of workers.,2. For the kings of Egypt gather together and condemn to the mining of the gold such as have been found guilty of some crime and captives of war, as well as those who have been accused unjustly and thrown into prison because of their anger, and not only such persons but occasionally all their relatives as well, by this means not only inflicting punishment upon those found guilty but also securing at the same time great revenues from their labours.,3. And those who have been condemned in this way â and they are a great multitude and are all bound in chains â work at their task unceasingly both by day and throughout the entire night, enjoying no respite and being carefully cut off from any means of escape; since guards of foreign soldiers who speak a language different from theirs stand watch over them, so that not a man, either by conversation or by some contact of a friendly nature, is able to corrupt one of his keepers.,6. Now these men, working in darkness as they do because of the bending and winding of the passages, carry lamps bound on their foreheads; and since much of the time they change the position of their bodies to follow the particular character of the stone they throw the blocks, as they cut them out, on the ground; and at this task they labour without ceasing beneath the sternness and blows of an overseer. 3.13. 1. The boys there who have not yet come to maturity, entering through the tunnels into the galleries formed by the removal of the rock, laboriously gather up the rock as it is cast down piece by piece and carry it out into the open to the place outside the entrance. Then those who are above thirty years of age take this quarried stone from them and with iron pestles pound a specified amount of it in stone mortars, until they have worked it down to the size of a vetch.,2. Thereupon the women and older men receive from them the rock of this size and cast it into mills of which a number stand there in a row, and taking their places in groups of two or three at the spoke or handle of each mill they grind it until they have worked down the amount given them to the consistency of the finest flour. And since no opportunity is afforded any of them to care for his body and they have no garment to cover their shame, no man can look upon unfortunate wretches without feeling pity for them because of the exceeding hardships they suffer.,3. For no leniency or respite of any kind is given to any man who is sick, or maimed, or aged, or in the case of a woman for her weakness, but all without exception are compelled by blows to persevere in their labours, until through ill-treatment they die in the midst of their tortures. Consequently the poor unfortunates believe, because their punishment is so excessively severe, that the future will always be more terrible than the present and therefore look forward to death as more to be desired than life. 3.14. 1. In the last steps the skilled workmen receive the stone which has been ground to powder and take it off for its complete and final working; for they rub the marble which has been worked down upon a broad board which is slightly inclined, pouring water over it all the while; whereupon the earthy matter in it, melted away by the action of the water, runs down the inclined board, while that which contains the gold remains on the wood because of its weight.,2. And repeating this a number of times, they first of all rub it gently with their hands, and then lightly pressing it with sponges of loose texture they remove in this way whatever is porous and earthy, until there remains only the pure gold-dust.,3. Then at last other skilled workmen take what has been recovered and put it by fixed measure and weight into earthen jars, mixing with it a lump of lead proportionate to the mass, lumps of salt and a little tin, and adding thereto barley bran; thereupon they put on it a close-fitting lid, and smearing it over carefully with mud they bake it in a kiln for five successive days and as many nights;,4. and at the end of this period, when they have let the jars cool off, of the other matter they find no remains in the jars, but the gold they recover in pure form, there being but little waste. This working of the gold, as it is carried on at the farthermost borders of Egypt, is effected through all the extensive labours here described;,5. for Nature herself, in my opinion, makes it clear that whereas the production of gold is laborious, the guarding of it is difficult, the zest for it is very great, and that its use is half-way between pleasure and pain. Now the discovery of these mines is very ancient, having been made by the early kings.,6. But we shall undertake to discuss the peoples which inhabit the coast of the Arabian Gulf and that of the Trogodytes and the part of Ethiopia that faces the noon-day sun and the south wind. 3.14.6. But we shall undertake to discuss the peoples which inhabit the coast of the Arabian Gulf and that of the Trogodytes and the part of Ethiopia that faces the noon-day sun and the south wind. 3.15. 3.15. 1. The first people we shall mention are the Ichthyophagi who inhabit the coast which extends from Carmania and Gedrosia to the farthest limits of the arm of the sea which is found at the Arabian Gulf, which extends inland an unbelievable distance and is enclosed at its mouth by two continents, on the one side by Arabia Felix and on the other by the land of the Trogodytes.,2. As for these barbarians, certain of them go about entirely naked and have the women and children in common like their flocks and herds, and since they recognize only the physical perception of pleasure and pain they take no thought of things which are disgraceful and those which are honourable.,3. They have their dwellings not far from the sea along the rocky shores, where there are not only deep valleys but also jagged ravines and very narrow channels which Nature has divided by means of winding side-branches. These branches being by their nature suited to their need, the natives close up the passages and outlets with heaps of great stones, and by means of these, as if with nets, they carry on the catching of the fish.,4. For whenever the flood-tide of the sea sweeps violently over the land, which happens twice daily and usually about the third and ninth hour, the sea covers in its flood all the rocky shore and together with the huge and violent billow carries to the land an incredible multitude of fish of every kind, which at first remain along the coast, wandering in search of food among the sheltered spots and hollow places; but whenever the time of ebb comes, the water flows off little by little through the heaps of rocks and ravines, but the fish are left behind in the hollow places.,5. At this moment the multitude of the natives with their children and women gather, as if at a single word of command, at the rocky shores. And the barbarians, dividing into several companies, rush in bands each to its respective place with a hideous shouting, as if they had come unexpectedly upon some prey.,6. Thereupon the women and children, seizing the smaller fish which are near the shore, throw them on the land, and the men of bodily vigour lay hands upon the fish which are hard to overcome because of their size; for there are driven out of the deep creatures of enormous size, not only sea-scorpions and sea-eels and dog-fish, but also seals and many other kinds which are strange both in appearance and in name.,7. These animals they subdue without the assistance of any skilful device of weapons but by piercing them through with sharp goathorns and by gashing them with the jagged rocks; for necessity teaches Nature everything, as Nature, in her own fashion, by seizing upon the opportunities which lie at hand adapts herself to their hoped-for utilization. 3.16. 1. Whenever they have collected a multitude of all kinds of fish they carry off their catch and bake the whole of it upon the rocks which are inclined towards the south. And since these stones are red-hot because of the very great heat, they leave the fish there for only a short time and then turn them over, and then, picking them up bodily by the tail, they shake them.,2. And the meat, which has become tender by reason of the warmth, falls away, but backbones are cast into a single spot and form a great heap, being collected for a certain use of which we shall speak a little later. Then placing the meat upon a smooth stone they carefully tread upon it for a sufficient length of time and mix with it the fruit of the Christ's thorn;,3. for when this has been thoroughly worked into the meat the whole of it becomes a glutinous mass, and it would appear that this takes the place among them of a relish. Finally, when this has been well trodden, they mould it into little oblong bricks and place them in the sun; and after these have become thoroughly dry they sit down and feast upon them, eating not according to any measure or weight but according to every man's own wish, inasmuch as they make their physical desire the bounds of their indulgence.,4. For they have at all times stores which are unfailing and ready for use, as though Poseidon had assumed the task of Demeter. But at times a tidal wave of such size rolls in from the sea upon the land, a violent wave that for many days submerges the rocky shores, that no one can approach those regions.,5. Consequently, being short of food at such times, they at first gather the mussels, which are of so great a size that some of them are found that weigh four minas; that is, they break their shells by throwing huge stones at them and then eat the meat raw, its taste resembling somewhat that of oysters.,6. And whenever it comes to pass that the ocean is high for a considerable period because of the continued winds, and the impossibility of coping with that state of affairs prevents them from making their usual catch of fish, they turn, as has been said, to the mussels. But if the food from the mussels fails them, they have recourse to the heap of backbones;,7. that is, they select from this heap such backbones as are succulent and fresh and take them apart joint by joint, and then they grind some at once with their teeth, though the hard ones they first crush with rocks and thus prepare them before they eat them, their level of life being much the same as that of the wild beasts which make their homes in dens. 3.17. 1. Now as for dry food they get an abundance of it in the manner described, but their use of wet food is astonishing and quite incredible. For they devote themselves assiduously for four days to the sea-food they have caught, the whole tribe feasting upon it merrily while entertaining one another with inarticulate songs; and furthermore, they lie at this time with any women they happen to meet in order to beget children, being relieved of every concern because their food is easily secured and ready at hand.,2. But on the fifth day the whole tribe hurries off in search of drink to the foothills of the mountains, where there are springs of sweet water at which the pastoral folk water their flocks and herds.,3. And their journey thither is like that of herds of cattle, all of them uttering a cry which produces, not articulate speech, but merely a confused roaring. As for their children, the women carry the babies continually in their arms, but the fathers do this after they have been separated from their milk, while those above five years of age lead the way accompanied by their parents, playing as they go and full of joy, as though they were setting out for pleasure of the sweetest kind.,4. For the nature of this people, being as yet unperverted, considers the satisfying of their need to be the greatest possible good, desiring in addition none of the imported pleasures. And so soon as they arrive at the watering-places of the pastoral folk and have their bellies filled with the water, they return, scarcely able to move because of the weight of it.,5. On that day they taste no food, but everyone lies gorged and scarcely able to breathe, quite like a drunken man. The next day, however, they turn again to the eating of the fish; and their way of living follows a cycle after this fashion throughout their lives. Now the inhabitants of the coast inside the Straits lead the kind of life which has been described, and by reason of the simplicity of their food they rarely are subject to attacks of disease, although they are far shorter-lived than the inhabitants of our part of the world. 3.18. 1. But as for the inhabitants of the coast outside the gulf, we find that their life is far more astonishing than that of the people just described, it being as though their nature never suffers from thirst and is insensible to pain. For although they have been banished by fortune from the inhabited regions into the desert, they fare quite well from their catch of the fish, but wet food they do not require.,2. For since they eat the fish while it is yet juicy and not far removed from the raw state, they are so far from requiring wet food that they have not even a notion of drinking. And they are content with that food which was originally allotted to them by fortune, considering that the mere elimination of that pain which arises from want (of food) is happiness.,3. But the most surprising thing of all is, that in lack of sensibility they surpass all men, and to such a degree that what is recounted of them is scarcely credible. And yet many merchants of Egypt, who sail, as is their practice, through the Red Sea down to this day and have often sailed as far as the land of the Ichthyophagi, agree in their accounts with what we have said about the human beings who are insensible to pain.,4. The third Ptolemy also, who was passionately fond of hunting the elephants which are found in that region, sent one of his friends named Simmias to spy out the land; and he, setting out with suitable supplies, made, as the historian Agatharchides of Cnidus asserts, a thorough investigation of the nations lying along the coast. Now he says that the nation of the "insensible" Ethiopians makes no use whatsoever of drink and that their nature does not require it for the reasons given above.,5. And as a general thing, he relates, they have no intercourse with other nations nor does the foreign appearance of people who approach their shores have any effect upon the natives, but looking at them intently they show no emotion and their expressions remain unaltered, as if there were no one present. Indeed when a man drew his sword and brandished it at them they did not turn to flight, nor, if they were subjected to insult or even to blows, would they show irritation, and the majority were not moved to anger in sympathy with the victims of such treatment; on the contrary, when at times children or women were butchered before their eyes they remained "insensible" in their attitudes, displaying no sign of anger or, on the other hand, of pity.,6. In short, they remained unmoved in the face of the most appalling horrors, looking steadfastly at what was taking place and nodding their heads at each incident. Consequently, they say, they speak no language, but by movements of the hands which describe each object they point out everything they need.,7. And the most marvellous fact of all is that seals live with these tribes and catch the fish for themselves in a manner similar to that employed by the human beings. Likewise with respect to their lairs and the safety of their offspring these two kinds of beings place the greatest faith in one another; for the association with animals of a different species continues without any wrongdoing and with peace and complete observance of propriety. Now this manner of life, strange as it is, has been observed by these tribes from very early times, whether it has been fashioned by habit over the long space of time or by a need imposed by necessity because of stress of circumstances. 3.19. 1. As for their dwelling-places, those used by these tribes are not all similar, but they inhabit homes modified to suit the peculiar nature of their surroundings. For instance, certain of them make their home in caves which open preferably towards the north and in which they cool themselves, thanks to the deep shade and also to the breezes which blow about them; since those which face the south, having as they do a temperature like that of an oven, cannot be approached by human beings because of the excessive heat.,2. But others who can find no caves facing the north collect the ribs of the whales which are cast up by the sea; and then, since there is a great abundance of these ribs, they interweave them from either side, the curve outwards and leaning towards each other, and then weave fresh seaweed through them. Accordingly, when this vaulted structure is covered over, in it they gain relief from the heat when it is most intense, the necessity imposed by Nature suggesting to them a skill in which they were self-taught.,3. A third method by which the Ichthyophagi find a dwelling for themselves is as follows. Olive trees grow about these regions in very great numbers and their roots are washed by the sea, but they bear thick foliage and a fruit which resembles the sweet chestnut.,4. These trees they interlace, forming in this way a continuous shade, and live in tents of this peculiar kind; for passing their days as they do on land and in the water at the same time, they lead a pleasurable life, since they avoid the sun by means of the shade cast by the branches and offset the natural heat of the regions with the continual washing of the waves against them, giving their bodies comfort and ease by the pleasant breezes which blow about them. We must speak also about the fourth kind of habitation.,5. From time immemorial there has been heaped up a quantity of seaweed of tremendous proportions, resembling a mountain, and this has been so compacted by the unceasing pounding of the waves that it has become hard and intermingled with sand. Accordingly, the natives dig in these heaps tunnels the height of a man, leaving the upper portion for a roof, and in the lower part they construct passage-ways connected with each other by borings. As they cool themselves in these tunnels they free themselves from all troubles, and leaping forth from them at the times when the waves pour over the shore they busy themselves with the catching of the fish; then, when the ebb-tide sets in, they flee back together into these same passage-ways to feast upon their catch.,6. Their dead, moreover, they "bury" by leaving the bodies just as they are cast out at the ebb of the tide, and then when the flood-tide sets in they cast the bodies into the sea. Consequently, by making their own interment a nutriment of the fish, they have a life which follows in singular fashion a continuous cycle throughout all eternity. 3.20. 1. One tribe of the Ichthyophagi has dwellings so peculiar that they constitute a great puzzle to men who take a pride in investigating such matters; for certain of them make their home among precipitous crags which these men could not possibly have approached at the outset, since from above there overhangs a lofty rock, sheer at every point, while on the sides unapproachable cliffs shut off entrance, and on the remaining face the sea hems them in, which cannot be passed through on foot, and they do not use rafts at all, while of boats such as we have they have no notion.,2. Such being the puzzle concerning them, the only solution left to us is that they are autochthonous, and that they experienced no beginning of the race they originally sprang from, but existed always from the beginning of time, as certain natural philosophers have declared to be true of all the phenomena of nature.,3. But since the knowledge of such matters is unattainable by us, nothing prevents those who have the most to say about them from knowing the least, inasmuch as, while plausibility may persuade the hearing, it by no means discovers the truth. 3.21. 1. We must speak also about the Chelonophagi, as they are called, and the nature of their entire manner of life. There are islands in the ocean, which lie near the land, many in number, but small in size and low-lying, and bearing no food either cultivated or wild. Because these islands are so near to one another no waves occur among them, since the surf breaks upon the outermost islands, and so a great multitude of sea-turtles tarry in these regions, resorting thither from all directions to gain the protection afforded by the calm.,2. These animals spend the nights in deep water busied with their search for food, but during the days they resort to the sea which lies between the islands and sleep on the surface with their upper shells towards the sun, giving to the eye an appearance like that of overturned boats; for they are of extraordinary magnitude and not smaller than the smallest fishing skiffs.,3. And the barbarians who inhabit the islands seize the occasion and swim quietly out to the turtles; and when they have come near the turtle on both sides, those on the one side push down upon it while those on the other side lift it up, until the animal is turned over on its back.,4. Then the men, taking hold on both sides, steer the entire bulk of the creature, to prevent it from turning over and making its escape into the deep water by swimming with the means with which Nature has endowed it, and one man with a long rope, fastening it to its tail, swims towards the land, and drawing the turtle along after him he hauls it to the land, those who had first attacked it assisting him in bringing it in.,5. And when they have got the turtles upon the shore of their island, all the inside meat they bake slightly for a short time in the sun and then feast upon it, but the upper shells, which are shaped like a boat, they use both for sailing over to the mainland, as they do in order to get water, and for their dwellings, by setting them right side up on elevations, so that it would appear that Nature, by a single act of favour, had bestowed upon these peoples the satisfaction of many needs; for the same gift constitutes for them food, vessel, house and ship.,6. Not far distant from these people the coast is inhabited by barbarians who lead an irregular life. For they depend for their food upon the whales which are cast up by the land, at times enjoying an abundance of food because of the great size of the beasts which they discover, but at times, when interruptions of the supply occur, they suffer greatly from the shortage; and when the latter is the case they are forced by the scarcity of food to gnaw the cartilages of old bones and the parts which grow from the ends of the ribs. As for the Ichthyophagi, then this is the number of their tribes and such, speaking summarily, are the ways in which they live. 3.22. 1. But the coast of Babylonia borders on a land which is civilized and well planted and there is such a multitude of fish for the natives that the men who catch them are unable readily to keep ahead of the abundance of them.,2. For along the beaches they set reeds close to one another and interwoven, so that their appearance is like that of a net which has been set up along the edge of the sea. And throughout the entire construction there are doors which are fixed close together and resemble basket-work in the way they are woven, but are furnished with hinges that easily yield to movements of the water in either direction. These doors are opened by the waves as they roll towards the shore at the time of flood-tide, and are closed at ebb-tide as they surge back.,3. Consequently it comes about that every day, when the sea is at flood-tide, the fish are carried in from the deep water with the tide and pass inside through the doors, but when the sea recedes they are unable to pass with the water through the interwoven reeds. As a result it is possible at times to see beside the ocean heaps being formed of gasping fish, which are being picked up unceasingly by those who have been appointed to this work, who have from their catch subsistence in abundance as well as large revenues.,4. And some of the inhabitants of these parts, because the country is both like a plain and low-lying, dig wide ditches leading from the sea over a distance of many stades to their private estates, and setting wicker gates at their openings they open these when the flood-tide is coming inland and close them when the tide changes to the opposite direction. Then, inasmuch as the sea pours out through the interstices of the gate but the fish are held back in the ditches, they have a controlled store of fish and can take of them as many as they choose and at whatever time they please. 3.23. 1. Now that we have discussed the peoples who dwell on the coast from Babylonia to the Arabian Gulf, we shall describe the nations who live next to them. For in the Ethiopia which lies above Egypt there dwells beside the river Asa the nation of the Rhizophagi. For the barbarians here dig up the roots of the reeds which grow in the neighbouring marshes and then thoroughly wash them; and after they have made them clean they crush them with stones until the stuff is without lumps and glutinous; and then, moulding it into balls as large as can be held in the hand, they bake it in the sun and on this as their food they live all their life long.,2. Enjoying as they do the unfailing abundance of this food and living ever at peace with one another, they are nevertheless preyed upon by a multitude of lions; for since the air about them is fiery hot, lions come out of the desert to them in search of shade and in some cases in pursuit of the smaller animals. Consequently it comes to pass that when the Ethiopians come out of the marshy lands they are eaten by these beasts; for they are unable to withstand the might of the lions, since they have no help in the form of weapons, and indeed in the end the race of them would have been utterly destroyed had not Nature provided them with an aid which acts entirely of itself.,3. For at the time of the rising of the dog-star, whenever a calm unexpectedly comes on, there swarms to these regions such a multitude of mosquitoes, surpassing in vigour those that are known to us, that while the human beings find refuge in the marshy pools and suffer no hurt, all the lions flee from those regions, since they not only suffer from their stings but are at the same time terrified by the sound of their humming. 3.24. 1. Next to these people are the Hylophagi and the Spermatophagi, as they are called. The latter gather the fruit as it falls in great abundance from the trees in the summer season and so find their nourishment without labour, but during the rest of the year they subsist upon the most tender part of the plant which grows in the shady glens; for this plant, being naturally stiff and having a stem like the bounias, as we call it, supplies the lack of the necessary food.,2. The Hylophagi, however, setting out with children and wives in search of food, climb the trees and subsist off the tender branches. And this climbing of theirs even to the topmost branches they perform so well as a result of their continued practice that a man can scarcely believe what they do; indeed they leap from one tree to another like birds and make their way up the weakest branches without experiencing dangers.,3. For being in body unusually slender and light, whenever their feet slip they catch hold instead with their hands, and if they happen to fall from a height they suffer no hurt by reason of their light weight; and every juicy branch they chew so thoroughly with their teeth that their stomachs easily digest them.,4. These men go naked all their life, and since they consort with their women in common they likewise look upon their offspring as the common children of all. They fight with one another for the possession of certain places, arming themselves with clubs, with which they also keep off enemies, and they dismember whomsoever they have overcome. Most of them die from becoming exhausted by hunger, when cataracts form upon their eyes and the body is deprived of the necessary use of this organ of sense. 3.25. 1. The next part of the country of the Ethiopians is occupied by the Cynegi, as they are called, who are moderate in number and lead a life in keeping with their name. For since their country is infested by wild beasts and is utterly worthless, and has few streams of spring water, they sleep in the trees from fear of the wild beasts, but early in the morning, repairing with their weapons to the pools of water, they secrete themselves in the woods and keep watch from their positions in the trees.,2. And at the time when the heat becomes intense, wild oxen and leopards and a multitude of every other kind of beast come to drink, and because of the excessive heat and their great thirst they greedily quaff the water until they are gorged, whereupon the Ethiopians, the animals having become sluggish and scarcely able to move, leap down from the trees, and by the use of clubs hardened in the fire and of stones and arrows easily kill them.,3. They hunt in this way in companies and feed upon the flesh of their prey, and although now and then they are themselves slain by the strongest animals, yet for the most part they master by their cunning the superior strength of the beasts.,4. And if at any time they find lack of animals in their hunt they soak the skins of some which they had taken at former times and then hold them over a low fire; and when they have singed off the hair they divide the hides among themselves, and on such fare as has been forced upon them they satisfy their want. Their boys they train in shooting at a mark and give food only to those who hit it. Consequently, when they come to manhood, they are marvellously skilled in marksmanship, being most excellently instructed by the pangs of hunger. 3.26. 1. Far distant from this country towards the parts to the west are Ethiopians known as Elephant-fighters, hunters also. For dwelling as they do in regions close together, they carefully observe the places where the elephants enter and their favourite resorts, watching them from the tallest trees; and when they are in herds they do not set upon them, since they would have no hope of success, but they lay hands on them as they go about singly, attacking them in an astonishingly daring manner.,2. For as the beast in its wandering comes near the tree in which the watcher happens to be hidden, the moment it is passing the spot he seizes its tail with his hands and plants his feet against its left flank; he has hanging from his shoulders an axe, light enough to that a blow may be struck with one hand and yet exceedingly sharp, and seizing this in his right hand he hamstrings the elephant's right leg, raining blows upon it and maintaining the position of his own body with his left hand. And they bring an astonishing swiftness to bear upon the task, since there is a contest between the two of them for their very lives; for all that is left to the hunter is either to get the better of the animal or to die himself, the situation not admitting another conclusion.,3. As for the beast which has been hamstrung, sometimes being unable to turn about because it is hard for it to move and sinking down on the place where it has been hurt, it falls to the ground and causes the death of the Ethiopian along with its own, and sometimes squeezing the man against a rock or tree it crushes him with its weight until it has killed him.,4. In some cases, however, the elephant in the extremity of its suffering is far from thinking of turning on its attacker, but flees across the plain until the man who has set his feet upon it, striking on the same place with his axe, has severed the tendons and paralysed the beast. And as soon as the beast has fallen they run together in companies, and cutting the flesh off the hind-quarters of the elephant while it is still alive they hold a feast. 3.27. 1. But some of the natives who dwell near by hunt the elephants without exposing themselves to dangers, overcoming their strength by cunning. For it is the habit of this animal, whenever it has had its fill of grazing, to lie down to sleep, the manner in which it does this being different from that of all other four-footed animals;,2. for it cannot bring its whole bulk to the ground by bending its knees, but leans against a tree and thus gets the rest which comes from sleep. Consequently the tree, by reason of the frequent leaning against it by the animal, becomes both rubbed and covered with mud, and the place about it, furthermore, shows both tracks and many signs, whereby the Ethiopians who search for such traces discover where the elephants take their rest.,3. Accordingly, when they come upon such a tree, they saw it near the ground until it requires only a little push to make it fall; thereupon, after removing the traces of their own presence, they quickly depart in anticipation of the approach of the animal, and towards evening the elephant, filled with food, comes to his accustomed haunt. But as soon as he leans against the tree with his entire weight he at once rolls to the ground along with the tree, and after his fall he remains there lying on his back the night through, since the nature of his body is not fashioned for rising.,4. Then the Ethiopians who have sawn the tree gather at dawn, and when they have slain the beast without danger to themselves they pitch their tents at the place and remain there until they have consumed the fallen animal. 3.28. 1. The parts west of these tribes are inhabited by Ethiopians who are called Simi, but those towards the south are held by the tribe of the Struthophagi.,2. For there is found among them a kind of bird having a nature which is mingled with that of the land animal, and this explains the compound name it bears. This animal is not inferior in size to the largest deer and has been fashioned by Nature with a long neck and a round body, which is covered with feathers. Its head is weak and small, but it has powerful thighs and legs and its foot is cloven.,3. It is unable to fly in the air because of its weight, but it runs more swiftly than any other animal, barely touching the earth with the tips of its feet; and especially when it raises its wings adown the blasts of the wind it makes off like a ship under full sail; and it defends itself against its pursuers by means of its feet, hurling, as if from a sling, in an astonishing manner, stones as large as can be held in the hand.,4. But when it is pursued at a time of calm, its wings quickly collapse, it is unable to make use of the advantages given it by nature, and being easily overtaken it is made captive.,5. And since these animals abound in the land in multitude beyond telling, the barbarians devise every manner of scheme whereby to take them; moreover, since they are easily caught in large numbers, their meat is used for food and their skins for clothing and bedding.,6. But being constantly warred upon by the Ethiopians known as "Simi," they are in daily peril from their attackers, and they use as defensive weapons the horns of gazelles; these horns, being large and sharp, are of great service and are found in abundance throughout the land by reason of the multitude of the animals which carry them. 3.29. 1. A short distance from this tribe on the edge of the desert dwell the Acridophagi, men who are smaller than the rest, lean of body, and exceeding dark. For among them in the spring season strong west and south-west winds drive out of the desert a multitude beyond telling of locusts, of great and unusual size and with wings of an ugly, dirty colour.,2. From these locusts they have food in abundance all their life long, catching them in a manner peculiar to themselves. For along the border of their land over many stades there extends a ravine of considerable depth and width; this they fill with wood from the forests, which is found in plenty in their land; and then, when the winds blow which we have mentioned and the clouds of the locusts approach, they divide among themselves the whole extent of the ravine and set fire to the brush in it.,3. And since a great volume of pungent smoke rises, the locusts, as they fly over the ravine, are choked by the pungency of the smoke and fall to the ground after they have flown through it only a short space, and as the destruction of them continues over several days, great heaps of them are raised up; moreover, since the land contains a great amount of brine, all the people bring this to the heaps, after they have been gathered together, soak them to an appropriate degree with the brine and thus both give the locusts a palatable taste and make their storage free from rot and lasting for a long time.,4. Accordingly, the food of this people, at the moment and thereafter, consists of these animals; for they possess no herds nor do they live near the sea nor do they have at hand any other resources; and light in body and very swift of foot as they are, they are also altogether short-lived, the oldest among them not exceeding forty years of age.,5. As for the manner in which they end their lives, not only is it astounding but extremely pitiful. For when old age draws near there breed in their bodies winged lice, which not only have an unusual form but are also savage and altogether loathsome in aspect.,6. The affliction begins on the belly and the breast and in a short time spreads over the whole body. And the person so affected is at first irritated by a kind of itching and insists on scratching himself a bit, the disease at this point offering a satisfaction combined with pain; but after this stage the animals, which have been continuously engendered more and more in the body, break out to the surface and there is a heavy discharge of a thin humour, the sting of which is quite unbearable.,7. Consequently the man who is in the grip of the disease lacerates himself with his nails the more violently, groaning and moaning deeply. And as his hands tear at his body, such a multitude of the vermin pours forth that those who try to pick them off accomplish nothing, since they issue forth one after another, as from a kind of vessel that is pierced throughout with holes. And so these wretches end their lives in a dissolution of the body after this manner, a miserable fate, meeting with such a sudden reversal of fortune either by reason of the peculiar character of their food or because of the climate. 3.30. 1. Along the borders of this people there stretches a country great in size and rich in its varied pasturage; but it is without inhabitants and altogether impossible for man to enter; not that it has from the first never known the race of men, but in later times, as a result of an unseasonable abundance of rain, it brought forth a multitude of venomous spiders and scorpions.,2. For, as historians relate, so great a multitude of these animals came to abound that, although at the outset the human beings dwelling there united in killing the natural enemy, yet, because the multitude of them was not to be overcome and their bites brought swift death to their victims, they renounced both their ancestral land and mode of life and fled from these regions. Nor is there any occasion to be surprised at this statement or to distrust it, since we have learned through trustworthy history of many things more astonishing than this which have taken place throughout all the inhabited world.,3. In Italy, for instance, such a multitude of field-mice was generated in the plains that they drove certain people out of their native country; in Media birds, which came to abound beyond telling and made away with the seeds sown by the inhabitants, compelled them to remove into regions held by another people; and in the case of the Autariatae, as they are called, frogs were originally generated in the clouds, and when they fell upon the people in place of the customary rain, they forced them to leave their native homes and to flee for safety to the place where they now dwell.,4. And who indeed has not read in history, in connection with the Labours which Heracles performed in order to win his immortality, the account of the one Labour in the course of which he drove out of the Stymphalian Lake the multitude of birds which had come to abound in it? Moreover, in Libya certain cities have become depopulated because a multitude of lions came out of the desert against them. Let these instances, then, suffice in reply to those who adopt a sceptical attitude towards histories because they recount what is astonishing; and now we shall in turn pass on to what follows the subjects we have been treating. 3.31. 1. The borders of the parts to the south are inhabited by men whom the Greeks call "Cynamolgi," but who are known in the language of the barbarians who live near them as Agrii. They wear great beards and maintain packs of savage dogs which serve to meet the needs of their life.,2. For from the time of the beginning of the summer solstice until mid-winter, Indian cattle, in a multitude beyond telling, resort to their country, the reason for this being uncertain; for no man knows whether they are in flight because they are being attacked by a great number of carnivorous beasts, or because they are leaving their own regions by reason of a lack of food, or because of some other reversal of fortune which Nature, that engenders all astonishing things, devises, but which the mind of the race of men cannot comprehend.,3. However, since they have not the strength of themselves to get the better of the multitude of the cattle, they let the dogs loose on them, and hunting them by means of the dogs they overcome a very great number of the animals; and as for the beasts which they have taken, some of them they eat while fresh and some they pack down with salt and store up. Many also of the other animals they hunt, thanks to the courage of their dogs, and so maintain themselves by the eating of flesh.,4. Now the most distant tribes of those peoples who live to the south have indeed the forms of men but their life is that of the beasts; however, it remains for us to discuss two peoples, the Ethiopians and the Trogodytes. But about the Ethiopians we have written in other connections, and so we shall now speak of the Trogodytes. 3.32. 1. The Trogodytes, we may state, are called Nomads by the Greeks, and living as they do a nomadic life off their flocks, each group of them has its tyrant, and their women, like their children, they hold in common, with the single exception of the wife of the tyrant; but if any man goes in to this woman the ruler exacts of him a fine of a specified number of sheep.,2. At the time of the etesian winds, when there are heavy rains in their country, they live off blood and milk which they mix together and seethe for a short while. But after this season the pasturage is withered by the excessive heat, and they retreat into the marshy places and fight with each other for the pasturage of the land.,3. They eat the older animals of the flocks and such as are growing sick and maintain themselves on them at all times. Consequently they give the name of parents to no human being, but rather to a bull and a cow, and also to a ram and a sheep; these they call their fathers or their mothers, by reason of the fact that they ever secure their daily food from them, and not from those who had begotten them. And as a drink the common people make use of juice from the plant Christ's-thorn, but for the rulers there is prepared from a certain flower a beverage like the vilest of our sweet new wines. Following after their herds and flocks they move about from one land of the another, avoiding any stay in the same regions.,4. And they are all naked as to their bodies except for the loins, which they cover with skins; moreover, all the Trogodytes are circumcised like the Egyptians with the exception of those who, because of what they have experienced, are called "colobi"; for these alone of all who live inside the Straits have in infancy all that part cut completely off with the razor which among other peoples merely suffers circumcision. 3.33. 1. As for the arms of the Trogodytes, those who bear the name of Megabari have round shields covered with raw ox-hide and a club with iron knobs, but the rest of them have bows and arrows and lances. Again, the burials practised by them differ entirely from all others;,2. for after binding the bodies of the dead with withes of Christ's-thorn they tie the neck to the legs, and then placing the corpse upon a mound they cast at it stones as large as can be held in the hand, making merry the while, until they have built up a heap of stones and have hidden the bodies from sight; and finally they set up a goat's horn on the heap and separate, having shown no fellow-feeling for the dead.,3. And they fight with one another, not, as the Greeks do, for possession of land or because of some alleged misdeeds, but for pasturage as it comes up at one time and another. In their quarrels they at first hurl stones at each other, until some are wounded, and the rest of the time they resort to the struggle with bows and arrows. And it is but a moment before many are dead, since they are accurate shooters by reason of their practice in archery and the object at which they are aiming is bare of protective armour.,4. The fighting is terminated by the older women, who rush into the fray and offer themselves as a protection to the fighters, and are the object of respect; for it is a custom with these people that they shall in no wise strike one of these women, and so at their appearance they cease shooting.,5. Those who can no longer accompany the flocks by reason of old age bind the tail of an ox about their own necks and so put an end to their lives of their own free will; and if a man postpones his death, anyone who wishes has the authority to fasten the noose about his neck, as an act of good-will, and, after admonishing the man, to take his life.,6. Likewise it is a custom of theirs to remove from life those who have become maimed or are in the grip of incurable diseases; for they consider it to be the greatest disgrace for a man to cling to life when he is unable to accomplish anything worth living for. Consequently, a man can see every Trogodyte sound in body and of vigorous age, since no one of them lives beyond sixty years.,7. But we have said enough about the Trogodytes; and if anyone of our readers shall distrust our histories because of what is strange and astonishing in the different manners of life which we have described, when he has considered and compared the climate of Scythia and that of the Trogodyte country and has observed the differences between them, he will not distrust what has been here related.