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Ephorus likewise shows us the opinion of the ancients respecting Ethiopia, in his Treatise on Europe. He says, ‘If the whole celestial and terrestrial globe were divided into four parts, the Indians would possess that towards the east, the Ethiopians towards the south, the Kelts towards the west, and the Scythians towards the north.’ He adds that Ethiopia is larger than Scythia; for, says he, it appears that the country of the Ethiopians extends from the rising to the setting of the sun in winter; and Scythia is opposite to it. It is evident this was the opinion of Homer, since he places Ithaca

“ Towards the gloomy region,1

Odyssey ix. 26.
that is, towards the north,2 but the others apart, “ Towards the morning and the sun,

” by which he means the whole southern hemisphere: and again when he says,

“ speed they their course
With right-hand flight towards the ruddy east,
Or leftward down into the shades of eve.3

Iliad xii. 239.
And again,

“ Alas! my friends, for neither west
Know we, nor east, where rises or where sets
The all-enlightening sun.4

Odyssey x. 190.
Which we shall explain more fully when we come to speak of Ithaca.5

When therefore he says,

“ For to the banks of the Oceanus,
Where Ethiopia holds a feast to Jove,
He journey'd yesterday,6

Iliad i. 423.
we should take this in a general sense, and understand by it the whole of the ocean which washes Ethiopia and the southern region, for to whatever part of this region you direct your attention, you will there find both the ocean and Ethiopia. It is in a similar style he says,

“ But Neptune, traversing in his return
From Ethiopia's sons the mountain heights
Of Solymè, descried him from afar.7

Odyssey v. 282.
which is equal to saying, ‘in his return from the southern regions,’8 meaning by the Solymi, as I remarked before, not those of Pisidia, but certain others merely imaginary, having the same name, and bearing the like relation to the navigators in [Ulysses'] ship, and the southern inhabitants there called Ethiopians, as those of Pisidia do in regard to Pontus and the inhabitants of Egyptian Ethiopia. What he says about the cranes must likewise be understood in a general sense.

“ Such clang is heard
Along the skies, when from incessant showers
Escaping, and from winter's cold, the cranes
Take wing, and over ocean speed away.
Woe to the land of dwarfs! prepared they fly
For slaughter of the small Pygmæan race.9

Iliad iii. 3.
For it is not in Greece alone that the crane is observed to emigrate to more southern regions, but likewise from Italy and Iberia,10 from [the shores of] the Caspian, and from Bactriana. But since the ocean extends along the whole southern coast, and the cranes fly to all parts of it indiscriminately at the approach of winter, we must likewise believe that the Pygmies11 were equally considered to inhabit the whole of it. And if the moderns have confined the term of Ethiopians to those only who dwell near to Egypt, and have also restricted the Pygmies in like manner, this must not be allowed to interfere with the meaning of the ancients. We do not speak of all the people who fought against Troy as merely Achæans and Argives, though Homer describes the whole under those two names. Similar to this is my remark concerning the separation of the Ethiopians into two divisions, that under that designation we should understand the whole of the nations inhabiting the sea-board from east to west. The Ethiopians taken in this sense are naturally separated into two parts by the Arabian Gulf, which occupies a considerable portion of a meridian circle,12 and resembles a river, being in length nearly 15,000 stadia,13 and in breadth not above 1000 at the widest point. In addition to the length, the recess of the Gulf is distant from the sea at Pelusium only three or four days' journey across the isthmus. On this account those who are most felicitous in their division of Asia and Africa, prefer the Gulf14 as a better boundary line for the two continents than the Nile, since it extends almost entirely from sea to sea, whereas the Nile is so remote from the ocean that it does not by any means divide the whole of Asia from Africa. On this account I believe it was the Gulf which the poet looked upon as dividing into two portions the whole southern regions of the inhabited earth. Is it possible, then, that he was unacquainted with the isthmus which separates this Gulf from the Egyptian Sea?15

1 Odyssey ix. 26.

2 Strabo is mistaken in interpreting πρὸς ζόφον towards the north. It means here, as every where else, ‘towards the west,’ and allusion in the passage is made to Ithaca as lying west of Greece.

3 Whether they fly to the right towards the morn and the sun, or to the left towards the darkening west. Iliad xii. 239.

4 O my friends! since we know not where is the west, nor where the morning, nor where the sun that gives light to mortals descends beneath the earth, nor where he rises up again. Odyssey x. 190.

5 In Book x.

6 For yesterday Jove went to Oceanus to the blameless Ethiopians, to a banquet. Iliad i. 423.

7 The powerful shaker of the earth, as he was returning from the Ethiopians, beheld him from a distance, from the mountains of the Solymi, Odyssey v. 282.

8 This would be true if Homer had lived two or three centuries later, when the Greeks became acquainted with the Ethiopians on the eastern and western coasts of Africa. But as the poet was only familiar with the Mediterranean, there is no question that the Ethiopians mentioned in this passage are those of Phoenicia and Palestine.

9 Which, after they have escaped the winter and immeasurable shower, with a clamour wing their way towards the streams of the ocean bearing slaughter and fate to the Pygmæan men. Iliad iii. 3.

10 Gosselin is of opinion that this Iberia has no reference to Spain, but is a country situated between the Euxine and Caspian Seas, and forms part of the present Georgia. He assigns as his reason, that if Strabo had meant to refer to Spain, he would have mentioned it before Italy, so as not to interrupt the geographical order, which he is always careful to observe.

11 Pygmy, (πυγμαῖος,) a being whose length is a πυγμὴ, that is, from the elbow to the hand. The Pygmæi were a fabulous nation of dwarfs, the Lilliputians of antiquity, who, according to Homer, had every spring to sustain a war against the cranes on the banks of Oceanus. They were believed to have been descended from Pygmræus, a son of Dorus and grandson of Epaphus. Later writers usually place them near the sources of the Nile, whither the cranes are said to have migrated every year to take possession of the field of the Pygmies. The reports of them have been embellished in a variety of ways by the ancients. Hecatæus, for example, related that they cut down every corn-ear with an axe, for they were conceived to be an agricultural people. When Hercules came into their country, they climbed with ladders to the edge of his goblet to drink from it; and when they attacked the hero, a whole army of them made an assault upon his left hand, while two made the attack on his right. Aristotle did not believe that the accounts of the Pygmies were altogether fabulous, but thought that they were a tribe in Upper Egypt, who had exceedingly small horses, and lived in caves. In later times we also hear of Northern Pygmies, who lived in the neighbourhood of Thule: they are described as very short-lived, small, and armed with spears like needles. Lastly, we also have mention of Indian Pygmies, who lived under the earth on the east of the river Ganges. Smith, Diet. Biog. and Mythol. Various attempts have been made to account for this singular belief, which however seems to have its only origin in the love of the Marvellous.

12 It must be observed that the Arabian Gulf, or Red Sea, does not run parallel to the equator, consequently it could not form any considerable part of a meridian circle; thus Strabo is wrong even as to the physical position of the Gulf, but this is not much to be wondered at, as he supposed in equatorial division of the earth into two hemispheres by the ocean.

13 15,000 of the stadia employed by Strabo were equivalent to 21° 25′ 13″. The distance from the Isthmus of Suez to the Strait of Bab-el- Mandeb, following our better charts, is 20° 15′. Strabo says nearly 15,000 stadia; and this length may be considered just equal to that of the Arabian Gulf. Its breadth, so far as we know, is in some places equal to 1800 stadia.

14 The Arabian Gulf, or Red Sea.

15 The Mediterranean.

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