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 There are many who would make the Erembi a tribe of the Ethiopians, or of the Cephenes, or again of the Pygmies, and a thousand other fancies. These ought to be regarded with little trust; since their opinion is not only incredible, but they evidently labour under a certain confusion as to the different characters of history and fable. In the same category must be reckoned those who place the Sidonians and Phœnicians in the Persian Gulf, or somewhere else in the Ocean, and make the wanderings of Menelaus to have happened there. Not the least cause for mistrusting these writers is the manner in which they contradict each other. One half would have us believe that the Sidonians are a colony from the people whom they describe as located on the shores of the [Indian] Ocean, and who they say were called Phoenicians from the colour of the Erythræan Sea, while the others declare the opposite.1 Some again would transport Ethiopia into our Phœnicia, and make Joppa the scene of the adventures of Andromeda;2 and this not from any ignorance of the topography of those places, but by a kind of mythic fiction similar to those of Hesiod and other writers censured by Apollodorus, who, however, couples Homer with them, without, as it appears, any cause. He cites as instances what Homer relates of the Euxine and Egypt, and accuses him of ignorance for pretending to speak the actual truth, and then recounting fable, all the while ignorantly mistaking it for fact. Will anyone then accuse Hesiod of ignorance on account of his Hemicynes,3 his Macro- cephali,4 and his Pygmies; or Homer for his like fables, and amongst others the Pygmies themselves; or Alcman5 for describing the Steganopodes;6 or Æschylus for his Cyno- cephali,7 Sternophthalmi,8 and Monommati;9 when amongst prose writers, and in works bearing the appearance of veritable history, we frequently meet with similar narrations, and that without any admission of their having inserted such myths. Indeed it becomes immediately evident that they have woven together a tissue of myths not through ignorance of the real facts, but merely to amuse by a deceptive narration of the impossible and marvellous. If they appear to do this in ignorance, it is because they can romance more frequently and with greater plausibility on those things which are uncertain and unknown. This Theopompus plainly confesses in the announcement of his intention to relate the fables in his history in a better style than Herodotus, Ctesias, Hellanicus, and those who had written on the affairs of India.
1 That is, that the Phœnicians and Sidonians dwelling around the Persian Gulf are colonies from those inhabiting the shores of the Mediterranean.
2 As to this fact, upon which almost all geographers are agreed, it is only rejected by Strabo because it stands in the way of his hypothesis.
3 Half men, half dogs.
4 Long-headed men.
5 A celebrated poet who flourished about seven centuries before the Christian era, said to have been a native of Sardis in Lydia. Only three short fragments of his writings are known to be in existence.
6 Men who covered themselves with their feet.
7 Dog-headed men.
8 People having their eyes in their breasts.
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