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EUONYMI´TAE

EUONYMI´TAE (Ευωνυμῖται, Ptol. 4.7.33; Steph. B. sub voce p. 288, s. v.; Agathemer. Geogr. Min. 2.5; Plin. Nat. 6.35.29). Of these people, and of the district occupied by them, the accounts in the ancient geographers are conflicting. One fact alone concerning them seems ascertained. that they dwelt, as their name imports, on the west or left bank of the Nile. Stephanus of Byzantium says that the Euonymitae were an Egyptian people situated on the borders of Aethiopia; Agathemerus places them above the Second Cataract; while Pliny, on the authority of Nero's surveyors (exploratores), describes them as living on the northern frontier of Aethiopia near the island Gagaudes. Herodotus, however (2.30), says that the Automoli, or that portion of the war-caste of Egypt which abandoned its country in the reign of Psammetichus, were called Asmach, and that this word signifies in the Coptic language those whose station is on the king's left hand. Diodorus (1.67), indeed, ascribes the desertion of the warriors to their anger at having been transferred by Psammetichus, during an invasion of Syria, from the right wing of the Egyptian army, their hereditary post, to the left. If these etymologies can be at ail relied upon, it seems not unlikely that the Euonymitae were permitted by the king of Aethiopia to settle in a district bordering both on Egypt and Meroe, in which position they might be serviceable to their adopted country in its wars with the Pharaohs of Memphis.

[W.B.D]

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