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[11arg] A story taken from the books of Herodotus about the destruction of the Psylli, who dwelt in the African Syrtes.
THE race of the Marsians in Italy is said to have sprung from the son of Circe. 'Therefore it was given to the Marsic men, provided their families were not stained through the admixture of foreign alliances, by an inborn hereditary power to be the subduers of poisonous serpents and to perform wonderful cures by incantations and the juices of plants. We see certain persons called Psylli endowed with this same power. And when I had sought in ancient records for information about their name and race, I found at last in the fourth book of Herodotus 1 this story about them: that the Psylli had once been neighbours in the land of Africa of the Nasamones, and that the South Wind at a certain season in their territories blew very long and hard; that because of that gale all the water in the regions which they inhabited dried up; that the Psylli, deprived of their water supply, were grievously incensed at the South Wind because of that injury and voted to take up arms and march against the South Wind as against an enemy, and demand restitution according to the laws of war. And when they had thus set out, the South Wind [p. 175] came to meet them with a great blast of air, and piling upon them mountainous heaps of sand, buried them all with their entire forces and arms. Through this act the Psylli all perished to a man, and accordingly their territories were occupied by the Nasamones.
1 iv. 173.
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