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Eth. BARCAEI (Eth. Βαρκαῖοι), the people of BARCA This is made a separate article for the purpose of correcting the error of most compilers, who mention a Libyan tribe of the name on the authority of Herodotus. That the city was in the midst of Libyan tribes, and that its population was to a great extent Libyan, is unquestionable; but the name Barcaei, in Herodotus, always refers to the city and its neighbourhood; and it may easily be inferred from his statements that the Libyan people, among whom the city was founded, were the AUSCHISAE Herodotus expressly distinguishes the Barcaei, together with the Cyrenaeans, from the neighbouring Libyan tribes. (3.13, 91.) It is true that Ptolemy calls the native tribes above the Libyan Pentapolis BARCITAE (Βαρκεῖται, 4.4.9), and that Virgil (Aen. 4.42), by a poetical anticipation, mentions the Barcaei among the native peoples of N. Africa: “Hinc deserta siti regio lateque furentes Barcaei.”

But such expressions belong to a period when the name had been long since extended from the city to the district of which it was the capital, and which Herodotus calls BARCAEA (Βαρκαίη, 4.171), from which district in turn, as usual, the Libyan inhabitants of later time received their name. (See also Steph. B. sub voce Βάρκη: καὶ Βαρκαῖον τὸν Λίβυν, Φασὶ Βαρκαῖον ἔθνος, but the reading is doubtful, and recent editors give ἔπος.

It is not meant to be denied that the name may possibly have been of Libyan origin; but it is some-what important to observe that Herodotus does not make the statement usually ascribed to him. For the arguments in favour of the existence of Barca as a Libyan settlement before its Grecian colonization, see Pacho (Voyage dans la Marmarique, p. 175, foll.)


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