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Πυγμαῖοι, i. e. men of the height of a πυγμή, i. e. thirteen and a half inches). A fabulous people, first mentioned by Homer ( Il. iii. 5) as dwelling on the shores of Ocean, and attacked by cranes in springtime. The fable is repeated by numerous writers in various forms, especially as to the locality, some placing them at the sources of the Nile (Aristot. H. A. viii. 12) in Aethiopia, others in India (Pliny , Pliny H. N. vi. 22), and others in the extreme north of the earth (Eustath. ad Hom. p. 372). Philostratus represents them as fighting with Her

Battle of Pygmies and Cranes. (Pompeian Caricature.)

acles, one army of them attacking his right hand and one his left (Icon. ii. 21). Aristotle did not regard the stories of the Pygmies as wholly fabulous (H. A. viii. 14), and recent African explorers have discovered in that Continent two types of dwarfish people whose existence in ancient times coming vaguely to the knowledge of the Greeks and Romans doubtless gave rise to the various stories about them. Ctesias and Pomponius Mela also speak of Pygmies in Asia. See Tarver, The Pygmies (London, 1894); Quatrefages, The Pygmies, Eng. trans. (New York, 1895).

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