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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



4471
Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 3.12


nan 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., 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., And those who have been condemned in this way — and they are a great multitude and are all bound in chains — 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., 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.


nan1.  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 — and they are a great multitude and are all bound in chains — 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.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

10 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Deuteronomy, 8.9 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

8.9. אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר לֹא בְמִסְכֵּנֻת תֹּאכַל־בָּהּ לֶחֶם לֹא־תֶחְסַר כֹּל בָּהּ אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אֲבָנֶיהָ בַרְזֶל וּמֵהֲרָרֶיהָ תַּחְצֹב נְחֹשֶׁת׃ 8.9. a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass."
2. Hesiod, Works And Days, 107-201, 106 (8th cent. BCE - 7th cent. BCE)

106. (The lid already stopped her, by the will
3. Polybius, Histories, 2.56-2.63, 36.17.2-36.17.3 (2nd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

2.56. 1.  Since, among those authors who were contemporaries of Aratus, Phylarchus, who on many points is at variance and in contradiction with him, is by some received as trustworthy,,2.  it will be useful or rather necessary for me, as I have chosen to rely on Aratus' narrative for the history of the Cleomenic war, not to leave the question of their relative credibility undiscussed, so that truth and falsehood in their writings may no longer be of equal authority.,3.  In general Phylarchus through his whole work makes many random and careless statements;,4.  but while perhaps it is not necessary for me at present to criticize in detail the rest of these, I must minutely examine such as relate to events occurring in the period with which I am now dealing, that of the Cleomenic war.,5.  This partial examination will however be quite sufficient to convey an idea of the general purpose and character of his work.,6.  Wishing, for instance, to insist on the cruelty of Antigonus and the Macedonians and also on that of Aratus and the Achaeans, he tells us that the Mantineans, when they surrendered, were exposed to terrible sufferings and that such were the misfortunes that overtook this, the most ancient and greatest city in Arcadia, as to impress deeply and move to tears all the Greeks.,7.  In his eagerness to arouse the pity and attention of his readers he treats us to a picture of clinging women with their hair dishevelled and their breasts bare, or again of crowds of both sexes together with their children and aged parents weeping and lamenting as they are led away to slavery.,8.  This sort of thing he keeps up throughout his history, always trying to bring horrors vividly before our eyes.,9.  Leaving aside the ignoble and womanish character of such a treatment of his subject, let us consider how far it is proper or serviceable to history.,10.  A historical author should not try to thrill his readers by such exaggerated pictures, nor should he, like a tragic poet, try to imagine the probable utterances of his characters or reckon up all the consequences probably incidental to the occurrences with which he deals, but simply record what really happened and what really was said, however commonplace.,11.  For the object of tragedy is not the same as that of history but quite the opposite. The tragic poet should thrill and charm his audience for the moment by the verisimilitude of the words he puts into his characters' mouths, but it is the task of the historian to instruct and convince for all time serious students by the truth of the facts and the speeches he narrates,,12.  since in the one case it is the probable that takes precedence, even if it be untrue, in the other it is the truth, the purpose being to confer benefit on learners.,13.  Apart from this, Phylarchus simply narrates most of such catastrophes and does not even suggest their causes or the nature of these causes, without which it is impossible in any case to feel either legitimate pity or proper anger.,14.  Who, for instance, does not think it an outrage for a free man to be beaten? but if this happen to one who was the first to resort to violence, we consider that he got only his desert, while where it is done for the purpose of correction or discipline, those who strike free men are not only excused but deemed worthy of thanks and praise.,15.  Again, to kill a citizen is considered the greatest of crimes and that deserving the highest penalty, but obviously he who kills a thief or adulterer is left untouched, and the slayer of a traitor or tyrant everywhere meets with honour and distinction.,16.  So in every such case the final criterion of good and evil lies not in what is done, but in the different reasons and different purposes of the doer. 2.57. 1.  Now the Mantineans had, in the first instance, deserted the Achaean League, and of their own free will put themselves and their city into the hands first of the Aetolians and then of Cleomenes.,2.  They had deliberately ranged themselves on his side and been admitted to Spartan citizenship, when, four years before the invasion of Antigonus, their city was betrayed to Aratus and forcibly occupied by the Achaeans.,3.  On this occasion, so far from their being cruelly treated owing to their recent delinquency, the circumstances became celebrated because of the sudden revulsion of sentiments on both sides.,4.  For immediately Aratus had the city in his hands, he at once issued orders to his troops to keep their hands off the property of others,,5.  and next, calling an assembly of the Mantineans, bade them be of good courage and retain possession of all they had; for if they joined the Achaean League he would assure their perfect security.,6.  The prospect of safety thus suddenly revealed to them took the Mantineans completely by surprise, and there was an instantaneous and universal reversal of feeling.,7.  The very men at whose hands they had seen, in the fight that had just closed, many of their kinsmen slain and many grievously wounded, were now taken into their houses, and received into their families with whom they lived on the kindest possible terms.,8.  This was quite natural, for I never heard of any men meeting with kinder enemies or being less injured by what is considered the greatest of calamities than the Mantineans, all owing to their humane treatment by Aratus and the Achaeans. 2.58. 1.  Subsequently, as they foresaw discord among themselves and plots by the Aetolians and Lacedaemonians, they sent an embassy to the Achaeans asking for a garrison.,2.  The Achaeans consented and chose by lot three hundred of their own citizens, who set forth, abandoning their own houses and possessions, and remained in Mantinea to watch over the liberty and safety of its townsmen.,3.  At the same time they sent two hundred hired soldiers, who aided this Achaean force in safeguarding the established government.,4.  Very soon however the Mantineans fell out with the Achaeans, and, inviting the Lacedaemonians, put the city into their hands and massacred the garrison the Achaeans had sent them. It is not easy to name any greater or more atrocious act of treachery than this.,5.  For in resolving to foreswear their friendship and gratitude, they should at least have spared the lives of these men and allowed them all to depart under terms.,6.  Such treatment is, by the common law of nations, accorded even to enemies;,7.  but the Mantineans, simply in order to give Cleomenes and the Lacedaemonians a satisfactory guarantee of their good faith in this undertaking violated the law recognized by all mankind and deliberately committed the most heinous of crimes.,8.  Vengeful murderers of the very men who previously on capturing their city had left them unharmed, and who now were guarding their liberties and lives — against such men, one asks oneself, can any indignation be too strong?,9.  What should we consider to be an adequate punishment for them? Someone might perhaps say that now when they were crushed by armed force they should have been sold into slavery with their wives and children.,10.  But to this fate the usage of war exposes those who have been guilty of no such impious crime.,11.  These men therefore were worthy of some far heavier and more extreme penalty; so that had they suffered what Phylarchus alleges, it was not to be expected that they should have met with pity from the Greeks, but rather that approval and assent should have been accorded to those who executed judgement on them for their wickedness.,12.  Yet, while nothing more serious befel the Mantineans, in this their hour of calamity, than the pillage of their property and the enslavement of the male citizens, Phylarchus, all for the sake of making his narrative sensational, composed a tissue not only of falsehoods, but of improbable falsehoods,,13.  and, owing to his gross ignorance, was not even able to compare an analogous case and explain how the same people at the same time, on taking Tegea by force, did not commit any such excesses.,14.  For if the cause lay in the barbarity of the perpetrators, the Tegeans should have met with the same treatment as those who were conquered at the same time.,15.  If only the Mantineans were thus exceptionally treated, we must evidently infer that there was some exceptional cause for anger against them. 2.59. 1.  Again he tells us that Aristomachus of Argos, a man of most noble birth, having himself been tyrant of Argos and being descended from tyrants, was led away captive to Cenchreae and there racked to death, no man deserving less such a terrible fate.,2.  Exercising in this case too his peculiar talent, the author gives us a made-up story of his cries when on the rack having reached the ears of the neighbours, some of whom, horrified at the crime, others scarcely crediting their senses and others in hot indignation ran to the house.,3.  About Phylarchus' vice of sensationalism I need say no more, for I have given sufficient evidence of it;,4.  but as for Aristomachus, even if he had been guilty of no other offence to the Achaeans, I consider that the general tenor of his life and his treason to his own country rendered him worthy of the most severe punishment.,5.  Our author, it is true, with the view of magnifying his importance and moving his readers to share his own indignation at his fate, tells us that he "not only had been a tyrant himself but was descended from tyrants.",6.  It would be difficult for anyone to bring a graver or more bitter accusation against a man. Why! the very word "tyrant" alone conveys to us the height of impiety and comprises in itself the sum of all human defiance of law and justice.,7.  Aristomachus, if it is true that he was subjected to the most terrible punishment, as Phylarchus tells us, did not get his full deserts for the doings on one day;,8.  I mean the day on which when Aratus with the Achaeans had gained entrance to the town and fought hard to free the Argives at great risk, but was finally driven out, because none of those inside the city who had agreed to join him ventured to stir,9.  owing to their fear of the tyrant, Aristomachus, availing himself of the pretext that certain persons were cognisant of the entrance of the Achaeans, put to death eighty of the leading citizens who were quite innocent, after torturing them before the eyes of their relatives.,10.  I say nothing of the crimes that he and his ancestors were guilty of all through their lives: it would be too long a story. 2.60. 1.  We must not therefore think it shocking if he met with treatment similar to what he had inflicted: it would have been much more so had he died in peace, without experiencing any such.,2.  Nor should we charge Antigonus and Aratus with criminal conduct, if having captured him in war they had tortured and put to death a tyrant, any man who killed and punished whom even in the time of peace would have been applauded and honoured by all right-thinking people.,3.  When I add that in addition to all his other offences he broke his faith with the Achaeans, what fate shall we say was too bad for him?,4.  Not many years previously he had laid down his tyranny, finding himself in an embarrassed position owing to the death of Demetrius, and quite contrary to his expectation suffered no harm, being protected by the Achaeans,,5.  who showed themselves most lenient and generous; for not only did they inflict no punishment on him for the crimes he had committed during his tyranny, but receiving him with the highest dignity, making him their Strategus and Commander-in‑chief.,6.  But instantly dismissing from his mind all these benefits, the moment it seemed to him that his prospects would be somewhat more brilliant if he sided with Cleomenes, he broke away from the Achaeans, transferring from them to the enemy at a most critical time his personal support and that of his country.,7.  Surely when they got him into their hands, he should not have been racked to death at night in Cenchreae, as Phylarchus says, but should have been led round the whole Peloponnesus and tortured as a spectacle for the public until dead.,8.  Yet notwithstanding his abominable character, all the harm he suffered was to be drowned in the sea by the officers in command at Cenchreae. 2.61. 1.  To take another instance, Phylarchus, while narrating with exaggeration and elaboration the calamities of the Mantineans, evidently deeming it a historian's duty to lay stress on criminal acts,,2.  does not even make mention of the noble conduct of the Megalopolitans at nearly the same date, as if it were rather the proper function of history to chronicle the commission of sins than to call attention to right and honourable actions,,3.  or as if readers of his memoirs would be improved less by account of good conduct which we should emulate than by criminal conduct which we should shun.,4.  He tells us how Cleomenes took the city, and before doing any damage to it, sent at once a post to the Megalopolitans at Messene offering to hand back their own native country to them uninjured on condition of their throwing in their lot with him. So much he lets us know, wishing to show the magimity of Cleomenes and his moderation to his enemies,,5.  and he goes on to tell how when the letter was being read out they would not allow the reader to continue until the end, and how they came very near stoning the letter-bearers.,6.  So far he makes everything quite clear to us, but he deprives us of what should follow and what is the special virtue of history, I mean praise and honourable mention of conduct noteworthy for its excellence.,7.  And yet he had an opportunity ready to his hand here. For if we consider those men to be good who by speeches and resolutions only expose themselves to war for the sake of their friends and allies, and if we bestow not only praise but lavish thanks and gifts on those who have suffered their country to be laid waste and their city besieged,,8.  what should we feel for the Megalopolitans? Surely the deepest reverence and the highest regard.,9.  In the first place they left their lands at the mercy of Cleomenes, next they utterly lost their city owing to their support of the Achaeans,,10.  and finally, when quite unexpectedly it was put in their power to get it back undamaged, they preferred to lose their land, their tombs, their temples, their homes, and their possessions, all in fact that is dearest to men, rather than break faith with their allies.,11.  What more noble conduct has there ever been or could there be? To what could an author with more advantage call the attention of his readers, and how could he better stimulate them to loyalty to their engagements and to true and faithful comradeship?,12.  But Phylarchus, blind, as it seems to me, to the most noble actions and those most worthy of an author's attention, has not said a single word on the subject. 2.62. 1.  Further he tells us that from the booty of Megalopolis six thousand talents fell to the Lacedaemonians, of which two thousand were given to Cleomenes according to usage.,2.  Now in this statement one marvels first at his lack of practical experience and of that general notion of the wealth and power of Greece so essential to a historian.,3.  For, not speaking of those times, when the Peloponnese had been utterly ruined by the Macedonian kings and still more by continued intestinal wars,,4.  but in our own times, when all are in complete unison and enjoy, it is thought, very great prosperity, I assert that a sale of all the goods and chattels, apart from slaves, in the whole Peloponnese would not bring in such a sum.,5.  That I do not make this assertion lightly but after due estimate will be evident from the following consideration.,6.  Who has not read that when the Athenians, in conjunction with the Thebans, entered on the war against the Lacedaemonians, sending out a force of ten thousand men and manning a hundred triremes,,7.  they decided to meet the war expenses by a property-tax and made a valuation for this purpose of the whole of Attica including the houses and other property.,8.  This estimate, however, fell short of 6000 talents by 250, from which it would seem that my assertion about the Peloponnese at the present day is not far wide of the mark.,9.  But as regards the times of which we are dealing, no one, even if he were exaggerating, would venture to say that more than three hundred talents could be got out of Megalopolis,,10.  since it is an acknowledged fact that most of the free population and the slaves had escaped to Messene. But the best proof of what I have to say is the following:,11.  Mantinea, both in wealth and power, was second to no city in Arcadia, as Phylarchus himself says, and it surrendered after a siege, so that it was not easy for anyone to escape or for anything to be stolen,,12.  but yet the value of the whole booty together with slaves amounted at this very period to but three hundred talents. 2.63. 1.  What he tells us next is still more astounding; after this assertion about the booty, he states that just ten days before the battle an envoy from Ptolemy reached Cleomenes informing him that that king withdrew his subvention and requested him to come to terms with Antigonus.,2.  He says that Cleomenes on hearing this resolved to stake his all on a battle before it reached the ears of his troops, as he had no hope of being able to meet their pay from his own resources.,3.  But if at this very time he had six thousand talents at his command, he could have been more generous than Ptolemy himself in the matter of subventions;,4.  and if he could only dispose of three hundred talents it was enough to enable him to continue the war against Antigonus with absolute ficial security.,5.  But to state in one breath that Cleomenes depended entirely on Ptolemy for money and that at the very same time he was in possession of such a large sum, is a sign of the greatest levity and want of reflection.,6.  Phylarchus has made many similar statements not only about this period but all through his work. I think, however, that what I have said at such length as the plan of this history allows should suffice. 36.17.2.  Now indeed as regards things the causes of which it is impossible or difficult for a mere man to understand, we may perhaps be justified in getting out of the difficulty by setting them down to the action of a god or of chance, I mean such things as exceptionally heavy and continuous rain or snow, or on the other hand the destruction of crops by severe drought or frost, or a persistent outbreak of plague or other similar things of which it is not easy to detect the cause. 36.17.3.  So in regard to such matters we naturally bow to public opinion, as we cannot make out why they happen, and attempting by prayer and sacrifice to appease the heavenly powers, we send to ask the gods what we must do and say, to set things right and cause the evil that afflicts us to cease.
4. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 2.12-2.13, 3.9.1-3.9.2, 3.10-3.11, 3.13-3.48, 3.18.4, 3.29.6, 3.40.2-3.40.8 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2.12. 1.  Although the sights to be seen in Babylonia are many and singular, not the least wonderful is the enormous amount of bitumen which the country produces; so great is the supply of this that it not only suffices for their buildings, which are numerous and large, but the common people also, gathering at the place, draw it out without any restriction, and drying it burn it in place of wood.,2.  And countless as is the multitude of men who draw it out, the amount remains undiminished, as if derived from some immense source. Moreover, near this source there is a vent-hole, of no great size but of remarkable potency. For it emits a heavy sulphurous vapour which brings death to all living creatures that approach it, and they meet with an end swift and strange; for after being subjected for a time to the retention of the breath they are killed, as though the expulsion of the breath were being prevented by the force which has attacked the processes of respiration; and immediately the body swells and blows up, particularly in the region about the lungs.,3.  And there is also across the river a lake whose edge offers solid footing, and if any man, unacquainted with it, enters it he swims for a short time, but as he advances towards the centre he is dragged down as though by a certain force; and when he begins to help himself and makes up his mind to turn back to shore again, though he struggles to extricate himself, it appears as if he were being hauled back by something else; and he becomes benumbed, first in his feet, then in his legs as far as the groin, and finally, overcome by numbness in his whole body, he is carried to the bottom, and a little later is cast up dead. Now concerning the wonders of Babylonia let what has been said suffice. 2.13. 1.  After Semiramis had made an end of her building operations she set forth in the direction of Media with a great force. And when she had arrived at the mountain known as Bagistanus, she encamped near it and laid out a park, which had a circumference of twelve stades and, being situated in the plain, contained a great spring by means of which her plantings could be irrigated.,2.  The Bagistanus mountain is sacred to Zeus and on the side facing the park has sheer cliffs which rise to a height of seventeen stades. The lowest part of these she smoothed off and engraved thereon a likeness of herself with a hundred spearmen at her side. And she also put this inscription on the cliff in Syrian letters: "Semiramis, with the pack-saddles of the beasts of burden in her army, built up a mound from the plain and thereby climbed this precipice, even to this very ridge.",3.  Setting forth from that place and arriving at the city of Chauon in Media, she noticed on a certain high plateau a rock both of striking height and mass. Accordingly, she laid out there another park of great size, putting the rock in the middle of it, and on the rock she erected, to satisfy her taste for luxury, some very costly buildings from which she used to look down both upon her plantings in the park and on the whole army encamped on the plain.,4.  In this place she passed a long time and enjoyed to the full every device that contributed to luxury; she was unwilling, however, to contract a lawful marriage, being afraid that she might be deprived of her supreme position, but choosing out the most handsome of the soldiers she consorted with them and then made away with all who had lain with her.,5.  After this she advanced in the direction of Ecbatana and arrived at the mountain called Zarcaeus; and since this extended many stades and was full of cliffs and chasms it rendered the journey round a long one. And so she became ambitious both to leave an immortal monument of herself and at the same time to shorten her way; consequently she cut through the cliffs, filled up the low places, and thus at great expense built a short road, which to this day is called the road of Semiramis.,6.  Upon arriving at Ecbatana, a city which lies in the plain, she built in it an expensive palace and in every other way gave rather exceptional attention to the region. For since the city had no water supply and there was no spring in its vicinity, she made the whole of it well watered by bringing to it with much hardship and expense an abundance of the purest water.,7.  For at a distance from Ecbatana of about twelve stades is a mountain, which is called Orontes and is unusual for its ruggedness and enormous height, since the ascent, straight to its summit, is twenty-five stades. And since a great lake, which emptied into a river, lay on the other side, she made a cutting through the base of this mountain.,8.  The tunnel was fifteen feet wide and forty feet high; and through it she brought in the river which flowed from the lake, and filled the city with water. Now this is what she did in Media. 3.9.1.  With regard to the gods, the Ethiopians who dwell above Meroë 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. 3.10. 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 — 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. 3.13. 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. 3.15. 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. 3.18.4.  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. 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. 3.29.6.  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. 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. 3.34. 1.  So great, for instance, is the contrast between our climate and the climates which we have described that the difference, when considered in detail, surpasses belief.,2.  For example, there are countries where, because of the excessive cold, the greatest rivers are frozen over, the ice sustaining the crossing of armies and the passage of heavily laden wagons, the wine and all other juices freeze so that they must be cut with knives, yea, what is more wonderful still, the extremities of human beings fall off when rubbed by the clothing, their eyes are blinded, fire furnishes no protection, even bronze statues are cracked open, and at certain seasons, they say, the clouds are so thick that in those regions there is neither lightning nor thunder; and many other things, more astonishing than these, come to pass, which are unbelievable to such as are ignorant of them, but cannot be endured by any who have actually experienced them.,3.  But on the farthermost bounds of Egypt and the Trogodyte country, because of the excessive heat from the sun at midday, men who are standing side by side are unable even to see one another by reason of the thickness of the air as it is condensed, and no one can walk about without foot-gear, since blisters appear at once on any who go barefoot.,4.  And as for drink, unless it is ready to hand to satisfy the need of it, they speedily perish, since the heat swiftly exhausts the natural moistures in the body. Moreover, whenever any man puts any food into a bronze vessel along with water and sets it in the sun, it quickly boils without fire or wood.,5.  Nevertheless, the inhabitants of both the lands which we have mentioned, far from desiring to escape from the excessive evils which befall them, actually, on the contrary, give up their lives of their own accord simply to avoid being compelled to make trial of a different fare and manner of life.,6.  Thus it is that every country to which a man has grown accustomed holds a kind of spell of its own over him, and the length of time which he has spent there from infancy overcomes the hardship which he suffers from its climate.,7.  And yet countries so different in both ways are separated by no great interval of space. For from Lake Maeotis, near which certain Scythians dwell, living in the midst of frost and excessive cold, many sailors of merchant vessels, running before a favourable wind, have made Rhodes in ten days, from which they have reached Alexandria in four, and from that city many men, sailing by way of the Nile, have reached Ethiopia in ten, so that from the cold parts of the inhabited world to its warmest parts the sailing time is not more than twenty-four days, if the journey is made without a break.,8.  Consequently, the difference in climates in a slight interval being so great, it is nothing surprising that both the fare and the manners of life as well as the bodies of the inhabitants should be very different from such as prevail among us. 3.35.   3.35. 1.  And now that we have discussed the principal facts concerning the nations and the manners of life which men consider astonishing, we shall speak in turn of the wild animals of the countries which we are considering.,2.  There is an animal, for instance, which is called, from its characteristic, rhinoceros; in courage and strength it is similar to the elephant but not so high, and it has the toughest hide known and a colour like box-wood. At the tip of its nostrils it carries a horn which may be described as snub and in hardness is like iron.,3.  Since it is ever contesting with the elephant about pasturage it sharpens its horn on stones, and when it opens the fight with this animal it slips under its belly and rips open the flesh with its horn as with a sword. By adopting this kind of fighting it drains the blood of the beasts and kills many of them. But if the elephant has avoided the attempt of the rhinoceros to get under his belly and has seized it beforehand with his trunk, he easily overcomes it by goring it with its tusks and making use of its superior strength.,4.  There are also sphinxes in both the Trogodyte country and Ethiopia, and in shape they are not unlike those depicted in art save that they are more shaggy of hair, and since they have dispositions that are gentle and rather inclined towards cunning they yield also to systematic training.,5.  The animals which bear the name cynocephali are in body like misshapen men, and they make a sound like the whimpering of human beings. These animals are very wild and quite untamable, and their eyebrows give them a rather surly expression. A most peculiar characteristic of the female is that it carries the womb on the outside of its body during its entire existence.,6.  The animal called the cepus has received its name from the beautiful and pleasing grace which characterizes its entire body, and it has a head like that of a lion, but the rest of its body is like that of a panther, save in respect to its size, in which it resembles a gazelle.,7.  But of all the animals named the carnivorous bull is the wildest and altogether the hardest to overcome. For in bulk he is larger than the domestic bulls, in swiftness of foot he is not inferior to a horse, and his mouth open clear back to the ears. His colour is a fiery red, his eyes are more piercing than those of a lion and shine at night, and his horns enjoy a distinctive property; for at all other times he moves them like his ears, but when fighting he holds them rigid. The direction of growth of his hair is contrary to that of all other animals.,8.  He is, again, a remarkable beast in both boldness and strength, since he attacks the boldest animals and finds his food in devouring the flesh of his victims. He also destroys the flocks of the inhabitants and engages in terrible combats with whole bands of the shepherds and packs of dogs.,9.  Rumour has it that their skin cannot be pierced; at any rate, though many men have tried to capture them, no man has ever brought one under subjection. If he has fallen into a pit or been captured by some other ruse he becomes choked with rage, and in no case does he ever exchange his freedom for the care which men would accord to him in domestication. It is with reason, therefore, that the Trogodytes hold this wild beast to be the strongest of all, since Nature has endowed it with the prowess of a lion, the speed of a horse, and the might of a bull, and since it is not subdued by the native strength of iron which is the greatest known.,10.  The animal which the Ethiopians call the crocottas has a nature which is a mixture of that of a dog and that of a wolf, but in ferocity it is more to be feared than either of them, and with respect to its teeth it surpasses all animals; for every bone, no matter how huge in size, it easily crushes, and whatever it has gulped down its stomach digests in an astonishing manner. And among those who recount marvellous lies about this beast there are some who relate that it imitates the speech of men, but for our part they do not win our credence.   3.36. 1.  As for snakes, those peoples which dwell near the country which is desert and infested by beasts say that there is every kind of them, of a magnitude surpassing belief. For when certain writers state that they have seen some one hundred cubits long, it may justly be assumed, not only by us but by everybody else, that they are telling a falsehood; indeed they add to this tale, which is utterly distrusted, things far more astonishing, when they say that, since the country is flat like a plain, whenever the largest of these beasts coil themselves up, they make, by the coils which have been wound in circles and rest one upon another, elevations which seen from a distance resemble a hill.,2.  Now a man may not readily agree as to the magnitude of the beasts of which we have just spoken; but we shall describe the largest beasts which have actually been seen and were brought to Alexandria in certain well-made receptacles, and shall add a detailed description of the manner in which they were captured.,3.  The second Ptolemy, who was passionately fond of the hunting of elephants and gave great rewards to those who succeeded in capturing against odds the most valiant of these beasts, expending on this hobby great sums of money, not only collected great herds of war-elephants, but also brought to the knowledge of the Greeks other kinds of animals which had never before been seen and were objects of amazement.,4.  Consequently certain of the hunters, observing the princely generosity of the king in the matter of the rewards he gave, rounding up a considerable number decided to hazard their lives and to capture one of the huge snakes and bring it alive to Ptolemy at Alexandria.,5.  Great and astonishing as was the undertaking, fortune aided their designs and crowned their attempt with the success which it deserved. For they spied one of the snakes, thirty cubits long, as it loitered near the pools in which the water collects; here it maintained for most of the time its coiled body motionless, but at the appearance of an animal which came down to the spot to quench its thirst it would suddenly uncoil itself, seize the animal in its jaws, and so entwine in its coil the body of the creature which had come into view that it could in no wise escape its doom. And so, since the beast was long and slender and sluggish in nature, hoping that they could master it with nooses and ropes, they approached it with confidence the first time, having ready to hand everything which they might need;,6.  but as they drew near it they constantly grew more and more terrified as they gazed upon its fiery eye and its tongue darting out in every direction, caught the hideous sound made by the roughness of its scales as it made its way through the trees and brushed against them, and noted the extraordinary size of its teeth, and the astonishing height of its heap of coils.,7.  Consequently, after they had driven the colour from their cheeks through fear, with cowardly trembling they cast the nooses about its tail; but the beast, the moment the rope touched its body, whirled around with so mighty a hissing as to frighten them out of their wits, and raising itself into the air above the head of the foremost man it seized him in its mouth and ate his flesh while he still lived, and the second it caught from a distance with a coil as it fled, drew him to itself, and winding itself about him began squeezing his belly with its tightening bond; and as for all the rest, stricken with terror they sought their safety in flight.   3.37. 1.  Nevertheless, the hunters did not give up their attempt to capture the beast, the favour expected of the king and his reward outweighing the dangers which they had come to know full well as the result of their experiment, and by ingenuity and craft they did subdue that which was by force well-nigh invincible, devising a kind of contrivance like the following:— They fashioned a circular thing woven of reeds closely set together, in general shape resembling a fisherman's creel and in size and capacity capable of holding the bulk of the beast.,2.  Then, when they had reconnoitred its hole and observed the time when it went forth to feed and returned again, so soon as it had set out to prey upon the other animals, as was its custom, they stopped the opening of its old hole with large stones and earth, and digging an underground cavity near its lair they set the woven net in it and placed the mouth of the net opposite the opening, so that it was in this way all ready for the beast to enter.,3.  Against the return of the animal they had made ready archers and slingers and many horsemen, as well as trumpeters and all the other apparatus needed, and as the beast drew near it raised its neck in air higher than the horsemen. Now the company of men who had assembled for the hunt did not dare to draw near it, being warned by the mishaps which had befallen them on the former occasion, but shooting at it from afar, and with many hands aiming at a single target, and a large one at that, they kept hitting it, and when the horsemen appeared and the multitude of bold fighting-dogs, and then again when the trumpets blared, they got the animal terrified. Consequently, when it retreated to its accustomed lair, they closed in upon it, but only so far as not to arouse it still more.,4.  And when it came near the opening which had been stopped up, the whole throng, acting together, raised a mighty din with their arms and thus increased its confusion and fear because of the crowds which put in their appearance and of the trumpets. But the beast could not find the opening and so, terrified at the advance of the hunters, fled for refuge into the mouth of the net which had been prepared near by.,5.  And when the woven net began to be filled up as the snake uncoiled itself, some of the hunters anticipated its movements by leaping forward, and before the snake could turn about to face the entrance they closed and fastened with ropes the mouth, which was long and had been shrewdly devised with such swiftness of operation in mind; then they hauled out the woven net and putting rollers under it drew it up into the air.,6.  But the beast, enclosed as it was in a straitened place, kept sending forth an unnatural and terrible hissing and tried to pull down with its teeth the reeds which enveloped it, and by twisting itself in every direction created the expectation in the minds of the men who were carrying it that it would leap out of the contrivance which enveloped it. Consequently, in terror, they set the snake down on the ground, and by jabbing it about tail they diverted the attention of the beast from its work of tearing with its teeth to its sensation of pain in the parts which hurt.,7.  When they had brought the snake to Alexandria they presented it to the king, an astonishing sight which those cannot credit who have merely heard the tale. And by depriving the beast of its food they wore down its spirit and little by little tamed it, so that the domestication of it became a thing of wonder.,8.  As for Ptolemy, he distributed among the hunters the merited rewards, and kept and fed the snake, which had now been tamed and afforded the greatest and most astonishing sight for the strangers who visited his kingdom.,9.  Consequently, in view of the fact that a snake of so great a size has been exposed to the public gaze, it is not fair to doubt the word of the Ethiopians or to assume that the report which they circulated far and wide was a mere fiction. For they state that there are to be seen in their country snakes so great in size that they not only eat both oxen and bulls and other animals of equal bulk, but even join issue in battle with the elephants, and by intertwining their coil about the elephants' legs they prevent the natural movement of them and by rearing their necks above their trunks they put their heads directly opposite the eyes of the elephants, and sending forth, by reason of the fiery nature of their eyes, brilliant flashes like lightning, they first blind their sight and then throw them to the ground and devour of the flesh of their conquered foes.   3.38. 1.  But now that we have examined with sufficient care Ethiopia and the Trogodyte country and the territory adjoining them, as far as the region which is uninhabited because of the excessive heat, and, beside these, the coast of the Red Sea and the Atlantic deep which stretches towards the south, we shall give an account of the part which still remains — and I refer to the Arabian Gulf — drawing in part upon the royal records preserved in Alexandria, and in part upon what we have learned from men who have seen it with their own eyes.,2.  For this section of the inhabited world and that about the British Isles and the far north have by no means come to be included in the common knowledge of men. But as for the parts of the inhabited world which lie to the far north and border on the area which is uninhabited because of the cold, we shall discuss them when we record the deeds of Gaius Caesar;,3.  for he it was who extended the Roman Empire the farthest into those parts and brought it about that all the area which had formerly been unknown came to be included in a narrative of history;,4.  but the Arabian Gulf, as it is called, opens into the ocean which lies to the south, and its innermost recess, which stretches over a distance of very many stades in length, is enclosed by the farthermost borders of Arabia and the Trogodyte country. Its width at the mouth and at the innermost recess is about sixteen stades, but from the harbour of Panormus to the opposite mainland is a day's run for a warship. And its greatest width is at the Tyrcaeus mountain and Macaria, an island out at sea, the mainlands there being out of sight of each other. But from this point the width steadily decreases more and more and continually tapers as far as the entrance.,5.  And as a man sails along the coast he comes in many places upon long islands with narrow passages between them, where the current rises full and strong. Such, then, is the setting, in general terms, of this gulf. But for our part, we shall make our beginning with the farthest regions of the innermost recess and then sail along its two sides past the mainlands, in connection with which we shall describe what is peculiar to them and most deserving of discussion; and first of all we shall take the right side, the coast of which is inhabited by tribes of the Trogodytes as far inland as the desert.   3.39. 1.  In the course of the journey, then, from the city of Arsinoê along the right mainland, in many places numerous streams, which have a bitter salty taste, drop from the cliffs into the sea. And after a man has passed these waters, above a great plain there towers a mountain whose colour is like ruddle and blinds the sight of any who gaze steadfastly upon it for some time. Moreover, at the edge of the skirts of the mountain there lies a harbour, known as Aphroditê's Harbour, which has a winding entrance.,2.  Above this harbour are situated three islands, two of which abound in olive trees and are thickly shaded, while one falls short of the other two in respect of the number of these trees but contains a multitude of the birds called meleagrides.,3.  Next there is a very large gulf which is called Acathartus, and by it is an exceedingly long peninsula, over the narrow neck of which men transport their ships to the opposite sea.,4.  And as a man coasts along these regions he comes to an island which lies at a distance out in the open sea and stretches for a length of eighty stades; the name of it is Ophiodes and it was formerly full of fearful serpents of every variety, which was in fact the reason why it received this name, but in later times the kings at Alexandria have laboured so diligently on the reclaiming of it that not one of the animals which were formerly there is any longer to be seen on the island.,5.  However, we should not pass over the reason why the kings showed diligence in the reclamation of the island. For there is found on it the topaz, as it is called, which is a pleasing transparent stone, similar to glass, and of a marvellous golden hue.,6.  Consequently no unauthorized person may set foot upon the island and it is closely guarded, every man who has approached it being put to death by the guards who are stationed there. And the latter are few in number and lead a miserable existence. For in order to prevent any stone being stolen, not a single boat is left on the island; furthermore, any who sail by pass along it at a distance because of their fear of the king; and the provisions which are brought to it are quickly exhausted and there are absolutely no other provisions in the land.,7.  Consequently, whenever only a little food is left, all the inhabitants of the village sit down and await the arrival of the ship of those who are bringing the provisions, and when these are delayed they are reduced to their last hopes.,8.  And the stone we have mentioned, being found in the rock, is not discernible during the day because of the stifling heat, since it is overcome by the brilliance of the sun, but when night falls it shines in the dark and is visible from afar, in whatever place it may be.,9.  The guards on the island divide these places by lot among themselves and stand watch over them, and when the stone shines they put around it, to mark the place, a vessel corresponding in size to the chunk of stone which gives out the light; and when day comes and they go their rounds they cut out the area which has been so marked and turn it over to men who are able by reason of their craftsmanship to polish it properly.   3.40. 1.  After sailing past these regions one finds that the coast is inhabited by many nations of Ichthyophagi and many nomadic Trogodytes. Then there appear mountains of all manner of peculiarities until one comes to the Harbour of Soteria, as it is called, which gained this name from the first Greek sailors who found safety there.,2.  From this region onwards the gulf begins to become contracted and to curve toward Arabia. And here it is found that the nature of the country and of the sea has altered by reason of the peculiar characteristic of the region;,3.  for the mainland appears to be low as seen from the sea, no elevation rising above it, and the sea, which runs to shoals, is found to have a depth of no more than three fathoms, while in colour it is altogether green. The reason for this is, they say, not because the water is naturally of that colour, but because of the mass of seaweed and tangle which shows from under water.,4.  For ships, then, which are equipped with oars the place is suitable enough, since it rolls along no wave from a great distance and affords, furthermore, fishing in the greatest abundance; but the ships which carry the elephants, being of deep draft because of their weight and heavy by reason of their equipment, bring upon their crews great and terrible dangers.,5.  For running as they do under full sail and often times being driven during the night before the force of the winds, sometimes they will strike against rocks and be wrecked or sometimes run aground on slightly submerged spits. The sailors are unable to go over the sides of the ship because the water is deeper than a man's height, and when in their efforts to rescue their vessel by means of their punting-poles they accomplish nothing, they jettison everything except their provisions; but if even by this course they do not succeed in effecting an escape, they fall into great perplexity by reason of the fact that they can make out neither an island nor a promontory nor another ship near at hand; — for the region is altogether inhospitable and only at rare intervals do men cross it in ships.,6.  And to add to these evils the waves within a moment's time cast up such a mass of sand against the body of the ship and heap it up in so incredible a fashion that it soon piles up a mound round about the place and binds the vessel, as if of set purpose, to the solid land.,7.  Now the men who have suffered this mishap, at the outset bewail their lot with moderation in the face of a deaf wilderness, having as yet not entirely abandoned hope of ultimate salvation; for oftentimes the swell of the flood-tide has intervened for men in such a plight and raised the ship aloft, and suddenly appearing, as might a deus ex machina, has brought succour to men in the extremity of peril. But when such god-sent aid has not been vouchsafed to them and their food fails, then the strong cast the weaker into the sea in order that for the few left the remaining necessities of life may last a greater number of days. But finally, when they have blotted out of their minds all their hopes, these perish by a more miserable fate than those who had died before; for whereas the latter in a moment's time returned to Nature the spirit which she had given them, these parcelled out their death into many separate hardships before they finally, suffering long-protracted tortures, were granted the end of life.,8.  As for the ships which have been stripped of their crews in this pitiable fashion, there they remain for many years, like a group of cenotaphs, embedded on every side in a heap of sand, their masts and yard-arms si standing aloft, and they move those who behold them from afar to pity and sympathy for the men who have perished. For it is the king's command to leave in place such evidences of disasters that they may give notice to sailors of the region which works to their destruction.,9.  And among the Ichthyophagi who dwell near by has been handed down a tale which has preserved the account received from their forefathers, that once, when there was a great receding of the sea, the entire area of the gulf which has what may be roughly described as the green appearance became land, and that, after the sea had receded to the opposite parts and the solid ground in the depths of it had emerged to view, a mighty flood came back upon it again and returned the body of water to its former place.   3.40.2.  From this region onwards the gulf begins to become contracted and to curve toward Arabia. And here it is found that the nature of the country and of the sea has altered by reason of the peculiar characteristic of the region; 3.40.3.  for the mainland appears to be low as seen from the sea, no elevation rising above it, and the sea, which runs to shoals, is found to have a depth of no more than three fathoms, while in colour it is altogether green. The reason for this is, they say, not because the water is naturally of that colour, but because of the mass of seaweed and tangle which shows from under water. 3.40.4.  For ships, then, which are equipped with oars the place is suitable enough, since it rolls along no wave from a great distance and affords, furthermore, fishing in the greatest abundance; but the ships which carry the elephants, being of deep draft because of their weight and heavy by reason of their equipment, bring upon their crews great and terrible dangers. 3.40.5.  For running as they do under full sail and often times being driven during the night before the force of the winds, sometimes they will strike against rocks and be wrecked or sometimes run aground on slightly submerged spits. The sailors are unable to go over the sides of the ship because the water is deeper than a man's height, and when in their efforts to rescue their vessel by means of their punting-poles they accomplish nothing, they jettison everything except their provisions; but if even by this course they do not succeed in effecting an escape, they fall into great perplexity by reason of the fact that they can make out neither an island nor a promontory nor another ship near at hand; — for the region is altogether inhospitable and only at rare intervals do men cross it in ships. 3.40.6.  And to add to these evils the waves within a moment's time cast up such a mass of sand against the body of the ship and heap it up in so incredible a fashion that it soon piles up a mound round about the place and binds the vessel, as if of set purpose, to the solid land. 3.40.7.  Now the men who have suffered this mishap, at the outset bewail their lot with moderation in the face of a deaf wilderness, having as yet not entirely abandoned hope of ultimate salvation; for oftentimes the swell of the flood-tide has intervened for men in such a plight and raised the ship aloft, and suddenly appearing, as might a deus ex machina, has brought succour to men in the extremity of peril. But when such god-sent aid has not been vouchsafed to them and their food fails, then the strong cast the weaker into the sea in order that for the few left the remaining necessities of life may last a greater number of days. But finally, when they have blotted out of their minds all their hopes, these perish by a more miserable fate than those who had died before; for whereas the latter in a moment's time returned to Nature the spirit which she had given them, these parcelled out their death into many separate hardships before they finally, suffering long-protracted tortures, were granted the end of life. 3.40.8.  As for the ships which have been stripped of their crews in this pitiable fashion, there they remain for many years, like a group of cenotaphs, embedded on every side in a heap of sand, their masts and yard-arms si standing aloft, and they move those who behold them from afar to pity and sympathy for the men who have perished. For it is the king's command to leave in place such evidences of disasters that they may give notice to sailors of the region which works to their destruction. 3.41. 1.  The voyage along the coast, as one leaves these regions, from Ptolemaïs as far as the Promontories of the Tauri we have already mentioned, when we told of Ptolemy's hunting of the elephants; and from the Tauri the coast swings to the east, and at the time of the summer solstice the shadows fall to the south, opposite to what is true with us, at about the second hour of the day.,2.  The country also has rivers, which flow from the Psebaean mountains, as they are called. Moreover, it is checkered by great plains as well, which bear mallows, cress, and palms, all of unbelievable size; and it also brings forth fruits of every description, which have an insipid taste and are unknown among us.,3.  That part which stretches towards the interior is full of elephants and wild bulls and lions and many other powerful wild beasts of every description. The passage by sea is broken up by islands which, though they bear no cultivated fruit, support varieties of birds which are peculiar to them and marvellous to look upon.,4.  After this place the sea is quite deep and produces all kinds of sea-monsters of astonishing size, which, however, offer no harm to men unless one by accident falls upon their back-fins; for they are unable to pursue the sailors, since when they rise from the sea their eyes are blinded by the brilliance of the sun. These, then, are the farthest known parts of the Trogodyte country, and are circumscribed by the ranges which go by the name of Psebaean.   3.42. 1.  But we shall now take up the other side, namely, the opposite shore which forms the coast of Arabia, and shall describe it, beginning with the innermost recess. This bears the name Poseideion, since an altar was erected here to Poseidon Pelagius by that Ariston who was dispatched by Ptolemy to investigate the coast of Arabia as far as the ocean.,2.  Directly after the innermost recess is a region along the sea which is especially honoured by the natives because of the advantage which accrues from it to them. It is called the Palm-grove and contains a multitude of trees of this kind which are exceedingly fruitful and contribute in an unusual degree to enjoyment and luxury.,3.  But all the country round about is lacking in springs of water and is fiery hot because it slopes to the south; accordingly, it was a natural thing that the barbarians made sacred the place which was full of trees and, lying as it did in the midst of a region utterly desolate, supplied their food. And indeed not a few springs and streams of water gush forth there, which do not yield to snow in coldness; and these make the land on both sides of them green and altogether pleasing.,4.  Moreover, an altar is there built of hard stone and very old in years, bearing an inscription in ancient letters of an unknown tongue. The oversight of the sacred precinct is in the care of a man and a woman who hold the sacred office for life. The inhabitants of the place are long-lived and have their beds in the trees because of their fear of the wild beasts.,5.  After sailing past the Palm-grove one comes to an island off a promontory of the mainland which bears the name Island of Phocae from the animals which make their home there; for so great a multitude of these beasts spend their time in these regions as to astonish those who behold them. And the promontory which stretches out in front of the island lies over against Petra, as it is called, and Palestine; for to this country, as it is reported, both the Gerrhaeans and Minaeans convey from Upper Arabia, as it is called, both the frankincense and the other aromatic wares.   3.43. 1.  The coast which comes next was originally inhabited by the Maranitae, and then by the Garindanes who were their neighbours. The latter secured the country somewhat in this fashion: In the above-mentioned Palm-grove a festival was celebrated every four years, to which the neighbouring peoples thronged from all sides, both to sacrifice to the gods of the sacred precinct hecatombs of well-fed camels and also to carry back to their native lands some of the water of this place, since the tradition prevailed that this drink gave health to such as partook of it.,2.  When for these reasons, then, the Maranitae gathered to the festival, the Garindanes, putting to the sword those who had been left behind in the country, and lying in ambush for those who were returning from the festival, utterly destroyed the tribe, and after stripping the country of its inhabitants they divided among themselves the plains, which were fruitful and supplied abundant pasture for their herds and flocks.,3.  This coast has few harbours and is divided by many large mountains, by reason of which it shows every shade of colour and affords a marvellous spectacle to those who sail past it.,4.  After one has sailed past this country the Laeanites Gulf comes next, about which are many inhabited villages of Arabs who are known as Nabataeans. This tribe occupies a large part of the coast and not a little of the country which stretches inland, and it has a people numerous beyond telling and flocks and herds in multitude beyond belief.,5.  Now in ancient times these men observed justice and were content with the food which they received from their flocks, but later, after the kings in Alexandria had made the ways of the sea navigable for the merchants, these Arabs not only attacked the shipwrecked, but fitting out pirate ships preyed upon the voyagers, imitating in their practices the savage and lawless ways of the Tauri of the Pontus; some time afterward, however, they were caught on the high seas by some quadriremes and punished as they deserved.,6.  Beyond these regions there is a level and well-watered stretch of land which produces, by reason of springs which flow through its whole extent, dog's-tooth grass, lucerne, and lotus as tall as a man. And because of the abundance and excellent quality of the pasturage, not only does it support every manner of flocks and herds in multitude beyond telling, but also wild camels, deer, and gazelles.,7.  And against the multitude of animals which are nourished in that place there gather in from the desert bands of lions and wolves and leopards, against which the herdsmen must perforce battle both day and night to protect their charges; and in this way the land's good fortune becomes a cause of misfortune for its inhabitants, seeing that it is generally Nature's way to dispense to men along with good things what is hurtful as well.   3.44. 1.  Next after these plains as one skirts the coast comes a gulf of extraordinary nature. It runs, namely, to a point deep into the land, extends in length a distance of some five hundred stades, and shut in as it is by crags which are of wondrous size, its mouth is winding and hard to get out of; for a rock which extends into the sea obstructs its entrance and so it is impossible for a ship either to sail into or out of the gulf.,2.  Furthermore, at times when the current rushes in and there are frequent shiftings of the winds, the surf, beating upon the rocky beach, roars and rages all about the projecting rock. The inhabitants of the land about the gulf, who are known as Banizomenes, find their food by hunting the land animals and eating their meat. And a temple has been set up there, which is very holy and exceedingly revered by all Arabians.,3.  Next there are three islands which lie off the coast just described and provide numerous harbours. The first of these, history relates, is sacred to Isis and is uninhabited, and on it are stone foundations of ancient dwellings and stelae which are inscribed with letters in a barbarian tongue; the other two islands are likewise uninhabited and all three are covered thick with olive trees which differ from those we have.,4.  Beyond these islands there extends for about a thousand stades a coast which is precipitous and difficult for ships to sail past; for there is neither harbour beneath the cliffs nor roadstead where sailors may anchor, and no natural breakwater which affords shelter in emergency for mariners in distress. And parallel to the coast here runs a mountain range at whose summit are rocks which are sheer and of a terrifying height, and at its base are sharp undersea ledges in many places and behind them are ravines which are eaten away underneath and turn this way and that.,5.  And since these ravines are connected by passages with one another and the sea is deep, the surf, as it at one time rushes in and at another time retreats, gives forth a sound resembling a mighty crash of thunder. At one place the surf, as it breaks upon huge rocks, rocks leaps on high and causes an astonishing mass of foam, at another it is swallowed up within the caverns and creates such a terrifying agitation of the waters that men who unwittingly draw near these places are so frightened that they die, as it were, a first death.,6.  This coast, then, is inhabited by Arabs who are called Thamudeni; but the coast next to it is bounded by a very large gulf, off which lie scattered islands which are in appearance very much like the islands called the Echinades. After this coast there come sand dunes, of infinite extent in both length and width and black in colour.,7.  Beyond them a neck of land is to be seen and a harbour, the fairest of any which have come to be included in history, called Charmuthas. For behind an extraordinary natural breakwater which slants towards the west there lies a gulf which not only is marvellous in its form but far surpasses all others in the advantages it offers; for a thickly wooded mountain stretches along it, enclosing it on all sides in a ring one hundred stades long; its entrance is two plethra wide, and it provides a harbour undisturbed by the waves sufficient for two thousand vessels.,8.  Furthermore, it is exceptionally well supplied with water, since a river, larger than ordinary, empties into it, and it contains in its centre an island which is abundantly watered and capable of supporting gardens. In general, it resembles most closely the harbour of Carthage, which is known as Cothon, of the advantages of which we shall endeavour to give a detailed discussion in connection with the appropriate time. And a multitude of fish gather from the open sea into the harbour both because of the calm which prevails there and because of the sweetness of the waters which flow into it.   3.45. 1.  After these places, as a man skirts the coast, five mountains rise on high separated one from another, and their peaks taper into breast-shaped tips of stone which give them an appearance like that of the pyramids of Egypt.,2.  Then comes a circular gulf guarded on every side by great promontories, and midway on a line drawn across it rises a trapezium-shaped hill on which three temples, remarkable for their height, have been erected to gods, which indeed are unknown to the Greeks, but are accorded unusual honour by the natives.,3.  After this there is a stretch of dank coast, traversed at intervals by streams of sweet water from springs; on it there is a mountain which bears the name Chabinus and is heavily covered with thickets of every kind of tree. The land which adjoins the mountainous country is inhabited by the Arabs known as Debae.,4.  They are breeders of camels and make use of the services of this animal in connection with the most important needs of their life; for instance, they fight against their enemies from their backs, employ them for the conveyance of their wares and thus easily accomplish all their business, drink their milk and in this way get their food from them, and traverse their entire country riding upon their racing camels.,5.  And down the centre of their country runs a river which carries down such an amount of what is gold dust to all appearance that the mud glitters all over as it is carried out at its mouth. The natives of the region are entirely without experience in the working of the gold, but they are hospitable to strangers, not, however, to everyone who arrives among them, but only to Boeotians and Peloponnesians, the reason for this being the ancient friendship shown by Heracles for the tribe, a friendship which, they relate, has come down to them in the form of a myth as a heritage from their ancestors.,6.  The land which comes next is inhabited by Alilaei and Gasandi, Arab peoples, and is not fiery hot, like the neighbouring territories, but is often overspread by mild and thick clouds, from which come heavy showers and timely storms that make the summer season temperate. The land produces everything and is exceptionally fertile, but it does not receive the cultivation of which it would admit because of the lack of experience of the folk.,7.  Gold they discover in underground galleries which have been formed by nature and gather in abundance not that which has been fused into a mass out of gold-dust, but the virgin gold, which is called, from its condition when found, "unfired" gold. And as for size the smallest nugget found is about as large as the stone offruit, and the largest not much smaller than a royal nut.,8.  This gold they wear about both their wrists and necks, perforating it and alternating it with transparent stones. And since this precious metal abounds in their land, whereas there is a scarcity of copper and iron, they exchange it with merchants for equal parts of the latter wares.   3.46. 1.  Beyond this people are the Carbae, as they are called, and beyond these the Sabaeans, who are the most numerous of the tribes of the Arabians. They inhabit that part of the country known as Arabia the Blest, which produces most of the things which are held dear among us and nurtures flocks and herds of every kind in multitude beyond telling. And a natural sweet odour pervades the entire land because practically all the things which excel in fragrance grow there unceasingly.,2.  Along the coast, for instance, grow balsam, as called, and cassia and a certain other herb possessing a nature peculiar to itself; for when fresh it is most pleasing and delightful to the eye, but when kept for a time it suddenly fades to nothing.,3.  And throughout the interior of land there are thick forests, in which are great trees which yield frankincense and myrrh, as well as palms and reeds, cinnamon trees and every other kind which possesses a sweet odour as these have; for it is impossible to enumerate both the peculiar properties and natures of each one severally because of the great volume and the exceptional richness of the fragrance as it is gathered from each and all.,4.  For a divine thing and beyond the power of words to describe seems the fragrance which greets the nostrils and stirs the senses of everyone. Indeed, even though those who sail along this coast may be far from the land, that does not deprive them of a portion of the enjoyment which this fragrance affords; for in the summer season, when the wind is blowing off shore, one finds that the sweet odours exhaled by the myrrh-bearing and other aromatic trees penetrate to the near-by parts of the sea; and the reason is that the essence of the sweet-smelling herbs is not, as with us, kept laid away until it has become old and stale, but its potency is in the full bloom of its strength and fresh, and penetrates to the most delicate parts of the sense of smell.,5.  And since the breeze carries the emanation of the most fragrant plants, to the voyagers who approach the coast there is wafted a blending of perfumes, delightful and potent, and healthful withal and exotic, composed as it is of the best of them, seeing that the product of the trees has not been minced into bits and so has exhaled its own special strength, nor yet lies stored away in vessels made of a different substance, but taken at the very prime of its freshness and while its divine nature keeps the shoot pure and undefiled. Consequently those who partake of the unique fragrance feel that they are enjoying the ambrosia of which the myths relate, being unable, because of the superlative sweetness of the perfume, to find any other name that would be fitting and worthy of it.   3.47. 1.  Nevertheless, fortune has not invested the inhabitants of this land with a felicity which is perfect and leaves no room for envy, but with such great gifts she has coupled what is harmful and may serve as a warning to such men as are wont to despise the gods because of the unbroken succession of their blessings.,2.  For in the most fragrant forests is a multitude of snakes, the colour of which is dark-red, their length a span, and their bites altogether incurable; they bite by leaping upon their victim, and as they spring on high they leave a stain of blood upon his skin.,3.  And there is also something peculiar to the natives which happens in the case of those whose bodies have become weakened by a protracted illness. For when the body has become permeated by an undiluted and pungent substance and the combination of foreign bodies settles in a porous area, an enfeebled condition ensues which is difficult to cure: consequently at the side of men afflicted in this way they burn asphalt and the beard of a goat, combatting the excessively sweet odour by that from substances of the opposite nature. Indeed the good, when it is measured out in respect of quantity and order, is for human beings an aid and delight, but when it fails of due proportion and proper time the gift which it bestows is unprofitable.,4.  The chief city of this tribe is called by them Sabae and is built upon a mountain. The kings of this city succeed to the throne by descent and the people accord to them honours mingled with good and ill. For though they have the appearance of leading a happy life, in that they impose commands upon all and are not accountable for their deeds, yet they are considered unfortunate, inasmuch as it is unlawful for them ever to leave the palace, and if they do so they are stoned to death, in accordance with a certain ancient oracle, by the common crowd.,5.  This tribe surpasses not only the neighbouring Arabs but also all other men in wealth and in their several extravagancies besides. For in the exchange and sale of their wares they, of all men who carry on trade for the sake of the silver they receive in exchange, obtain the highest price in return for things of the smallest weight.,6.  Consequently, since they have never for ages suffered the ravages of war because of their secluded position, and since an abundance of both gold and silver abounds in the country, especially in Sabae, where the royal palace is situated, they have embossed goblets of every description, made of silver and gold, couches and tripods with silver feet, and every other furnishing of incredible costliness, and halls encircled by large columns, some of them gilded, and others having silver figures on the capitals.,7.  Their ceilings and doors they have partitioned by means of panels and coffers made of gold, set with precious stones and placed close together, and have thus made the structure of their houses in every part marvellous for its costliness; for some parts they have constructed of silver and gold, others of ivory and that most showy precious stones or of whatever else men esteem most highly.,8.  For the fact is that these people have enjoyed their felicity unshaken since ages past because they have been entire strangers to those whose own covetousness leads them to feel that another man's wealth is their own godsend. The sea in these parts looks to be white in colour, so that the beholder marvels at the surprising phenomenon and at the same time seeks for its cause.,9.  And there are prosperous islands near by, containing unwalled cities, all the herds of which are white in colour, while no female has any horn whatsoever. These islands are visited by sailors from every part and especially from Potana, the city which Alexander founded on the Indus river, when he wished to have a naval station on the shore of the ocean. Now as regards Arabia the Blest and its inhabitants we shall be satisfied with what has been said.   3.48. 1.  But we must not omit to mention the strange phenomena which are seen in the heavens in these regions. The most marvellous is that which, according to accounts we have, has to do with the constellation of the Great Bear and occasions the greatest perplexity among navigators. What they relate is that, beginning with the month which the Athenians call Maemacterion, not one of the seven stars of the Great Bear is seen until the first watch, in Poseideon none until second, and in the following months they gradually drop out of the sight of navigators.,2.  As for the other heavenly bodies, the planets, as they are called, are, in the case of some, larger than they appear with us, and in the case of others their risings and settings are also not the same; and the sun does not, as with us, send forth its light shortly in advance of its actual rising, but while the darkness of night still continues, it suddenly and contrary to all expectation appears and sends forth its light.,3.  Because of this there is no daylight in those regions before the sun has become visible, and when out of the midst of the sea, as they say, it comes into view, it resembles a fiery red ball of charcoal which discharges huge sparks, and its shape does not look like a cone, as is the impression we have of it, but it has the shape of a column which has the appearance of being slightly thicker at the top; and furthermore it does not shine or send out rays before the first hour, appearing as a fire that gives forth no light in the darkness; but at the beginning of the second hour it takes on the form of a round shield and sends forth a light which is exceptionally bright and fiery.,4.  But at its setting the opposite manifestations take place with respect to it; for it seems to observers to be lighting up the whole universe with a strange kind of ray for not less than two or, as Agatharchides of Cnidus has recorded, for three hours. And in the opinion of the natives this is the most pleasant period, when the heat is steadily lessening because of the setting of the sun.,5.  As regards the winds, the west, the south-west, also the north-west and the east blow as in the other parts of the world; but in Ethiopia the south winds neither blow nor are known at all, although in the Trogodyte country and Arabia they so exceptionally hot that they set the forests on fire and cause the bodies of those who take refuge in the shade of their huts to collapse through weakness. The north wind, however, may justly be considered the most favourable of all, since it reaches into every region of the inhabited earth and is ever cool.
5. Strabo, Geography, 17.2.1-17.2.3 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

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. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 12.5 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

12.5. Nay, Agatharchides of Cnidus, who wrote the acts of Alexander’s successors, reproaches us with superstition, as if we, by it, had lost our liberty; where he says thus: 12.5. And I have sent to thee Andreas, the captain of my guard, and Aristeus, men whom I have in very great esteem; by whom I have sent those first-fruits which I have dedicated to the temple, and to the sacrifices, and to other uses, to the value of a hundred talents. And if thou wilt send to us, to let us know what thou wouldst have further, thou wilt do a thing acceptable to me.”
7. Josephus Flavius, Against Apion, 1.211 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

1.211. This accident taught all other men but the Jews to disregard such dreams as these were, and not to follow the like idle suggestions delivered as a law, when, in such uncertainty of human reasonings, they are at a loss what they should do.”
8. Pliny The Elder, Natural History, 5.43-5.46, 6.187-6.195 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

9. Anon., Letter of Aristeas, 120, 119

119. We were told that from the neighbouring mountains of Arabia copper and iron were formerly obtained. This was stopped, however, at the time of the Persian rule, since the authorities of the time spread
10. Photius, Bibliotheca (Library, Bibl.), 250



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
"fragments of historiography, hellenistic" Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158
"historiography, hellenistic" Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158
"historiography, tragic" Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 153, 154, 155
"historiography, universal" Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 158
"justice, divine" Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 148, 155
"moralising, guiding, introductory, concluding, and concomitant" Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 148, 158
"moralising, through pathos" Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 153, 154, 155, 158
agatharchides of cnidus Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158
agatharcides of cnidus, ethnography of Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 205
alexander the great Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 150
anger Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 154
arabia Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
athenaeus Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 150
babylon/babylonians Bosak-Schroeder, Other Natures: Environmental Encounters with Ancient Greek Ethnography (2020) 44
bitumen Bosak-Schroeder, Other Natures: Environmental Encounters with Ancient Greek Ethnography (2020) 44
brother Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
cicero Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 158
civilisation Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 153
comedy, greek Gruen, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (2011) 205
covertext Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 148
culture heroes Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 156
defeated, treatment of the Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 154
demosthenes Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 154
digressions Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
diodorus, use of agatharcides Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 205
diodorus, use of megasthenes Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 205
diodorus siculus Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158
eating Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 150, 151, 152, 153
effeminacy Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 153
eleazar, high priest Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
emotional involvement of reader Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 154
enargeia Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 153, 154, 155
ethnography, and ethiopians Gruen, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (2011) 205
ethnography, structure of Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 205
ethnography Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 148, 149, 151, 152, 153
evaluative phrasing Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 158
fortune Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 155, 156, 157, 158
greek Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
hasmonean period Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
hasmoneans Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
humanity Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 154, 158
humility Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 158
immoderation Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 151
israel Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
jealousy of the divine Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 157
josephus Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 155, 156
judaism Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
judea Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
luxury Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 149, 150, 151, 152, 153
megasthenes Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 205
mines of arabia Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
mining Bosak-Schroeder, Other Natures: Environmental Encounters with Ancient Greek Ethnography (2020) 44
moderation Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 151, 153, 158
myth Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
mythology in historiography Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 156, 157
necessity Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 152
nomina (customs), in megasthenes Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 205
nubian miners Bosak-Schroeder, Other Natures: Environmental Encounters with Ancient Greek Ethnography (2020) 44
origo or origo-archaeologia, in megasthenes Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 205
pausanias Gruen, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (2011) 205
peripatetics Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 153
philocrates Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
photius Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 205
photius of byzantium Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158
phylarchus Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 148, 154
physical appearance, of ethiopians Gruen, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (2011) 205
piety Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 153, 154, 155
pity Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 154, 155, 158
pliny, on ethiopians Gruen, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (2011) 205
polybius Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 152, 154, 156, 157
posidonius of apamea Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 158
ps.-aristeas Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
ptolemies Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 155
ptolemy ii philadelphus Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
rationality Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 156
religion Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 155, 156
sacking of cities Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 153, 154, 155
self-discipline Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 153, 158
semiramis, design of her gardens Bosak-Schroeder, Other Natures: Environmental Encounters with Ancient Greek Ethnography (2020) 44
sexual immoderation Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 154
similes Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 157
skin color, textual images' Gruen, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (2011) 205
stoicism Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 158
strabo, on ethiopians Gruen, Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (2011) 205
strabo Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 148
suffering Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 153, 154, 155, 156
translation Wright, The Letter of Aristeas: 'Aristeas to Philocrates' or 'On the Translation of the Law of the Jews' (2015) 234
victor, behaviour of Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 154
wealth Hau, Moral History from Herodotus to Diodorus Siculus (2017) 150, 153