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Among the Hesperian Æthiopians is the fountain of Nigris, by many, supposed to be the head of the Nile. I have already mentioned the arguments by which this opinion is supported.1 Near this fountain, there is found a wild beast, which is called the catoblepas;2 an animal of moderate size, and in other respects sluggish in the movement of the rest of its limbs; its head is remarkably heavy, and it only carries it with the greatest difficulty, being always bent down towards the earth. Were it not for this circumstance, it would prove the destruction of the human race; for all who behold its eyes, fall dead upon the spot.3

1 These will be found in B. v. c. 10.

2 From καταβλέπω, "to look downwards."

3 Ælian describes this animal more in detail, Anim. Nat. B. vii. c. 5. Cuvier thinks it probable that it is the Antelope gnu; he remarks, that it has a very peculiar and mournful appearance; Ajasson, vol. vi. p. 435; Lemaire, vol. iii. p. 405.—B.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 4.191
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    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), NIGEIR
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