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1 The greater portion of this Chapter is extracted almost verbatim from the account given by Mela. Ptolemy seems to place the Liby-Egyptians to the south of the Greater and Lesser Oasis, on the route thence to Darfour.
2 Or "White Æthiopians," men though of dark complexion, not negroes. Marcus is of opinion that the words "intervenientibus desertis" refer to the tract of desert country lying between the Leucæthiopians and the Liby-Egyptians, and not to that between the Gætulians on the one hand and the Liby-Egyptians and the Leucæthiopians on the other.
3 Meaning to the south and the south-east of these three nations, according to Marcus. Rennel takes the Leucæthiopians to be the present Mandingos of higher Senegambia: Marcus however thinks that they are the Azanaghis, who dwell on the edge of the Great Desert, and are not of so black a complexion as the Mandingos.
4 Probably the people of the present Nigritia or Soudan.
5 Marcus is of opinion that Pliny does not here refer to the Joliba of Park and other travellers, as other commentators have supposed; but that he speaks of the river called Zis by the modern geographers, and which Jackson speaks of as flowing from the south-east towards north-west. The whole subject of the Niger is however enwrapped in almost impenetrable obscurity, and as the most recent inquirers have not come to any conclusion on the subject, it would be little more than a waste of time and space to enter upon an investigation of the notions which Pliny and Mela entertained on the subject.
7 Mentioned in C. 1 of the present Book.
8 7 He refers to the words in the Odyssey, B. i. l. 23, 24.—
αἰθίοπας τοὶ δίχθα δεδαιάται, ἔσχατοι ἄνδρων̓
οἱ μὲν δυσομένου ῾υπερίονος, οἱ δ̓ ἀνιόντος. "The Æhiopians, the most remote of mankind, are divided into two parts, the one at the setting of Hyperion, the other at his rising."
9 A tribe of Æthiopia, whose position varied considerably at different epochs of history. Their predatory and savage habits caused the most extraordinary reports to be spread of their appearance and ferocity. The more ancient geographers bring them as far westward as the region beyond the Libyan Desert, and into the vicinity of the Oases. In the time however of the Antonines, when Ptolemy was composing his description of Africa, they appear to the south and east of Egypt, in the wide and almost unknown tract which lay between the rivers Astapus and Astobores.
10 Mela speaks of this race as situate farthest to the west. The description of them here given is from Herodotus, B. iv. c. 183–185, who speaks of them under the name of "Atarantes."
11 The people who are visited by no dreams, are called Atlantes by Herodotus, the same name by which Pliny calls them. He says that their territory is ten days' journey from that of the Atarantes.
12 This also is borrowed from Herodotus. As some confirmation of this account, it is worthy of remark, that the Rock Tibboos of the present day, who, like the ancient Troglodytæ, dwell in caves, have so peculiar a kind of speech, that it is compared by the people of Aujelah to nothing but the whistling of birds. The Troglodytæ of Fezzan are here referred to, not those of the coasts of the Red Sea.
13 Mela says that they look upon the Manes or spirits of the departed as their only deities.
14 This is said, in almost the same words, of the Garamantes, by Herodotus. The mistake was probably made by Mela in copying from Herodotus, and continued by Pliny when borrowing from him.
15 So called from their supposed resemblance in form to the Satyrs of the ancient mythology, who were represented as little hairy men with horns, long ears, and tails. They were probably monkeys, which had been mistaken for men.
16 Half goat, half man. See the Note relative to Ægipan, in C. 1 of the present Book, p. 378.
17 Evidently intended to be derived from the Greek ἱμὰς "a thong," and πόδες "the feet." It is most probable that the name of a savage people in the interior bore a fancied resemblance to this word, upon which the marvellous story here stated was coined for the purpose of tallying with the name. From a statement in the Æthiopica of Heliodorus, B. x., Marcus suggests that the story as to the Blemmyee having no heads arose from the circumstance, that on the invasion of the Persians they were in the habit of falling on one knee and bowing the head to the breast, by which means, without injury to themselves, they afforded a passage to the horses of the enemy.
18 It must be remembered, as already mentioned, that the ancients looked upon Egypt as forming part of Asia, not of Africa. It seems impossible to say how this supposition arose, when the Red Sea and the Isthmus of Suez form so natural and so palpable a frontier between Asia and Africa.
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