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Ἀτάραντες. The MSS. read Atlantes, which is obviously wrong. Salmasius restored Atarantes from Rhianus (in Eustathius ad Dionysii Orbis Desc. v. 66). H. seems to continue his description westwards (185. 1), but what tribe he means by the Atarantes it is impossible to say.

His story as to their being ‘nameless’ is probably a misunderstood echo of the African dread of magic; the name is regarded as a vital part of a man (Frazer, G. B. i. 404). Hence the care lest it should be known. For unwillingness to utter names cf. Tylor, Early History of Mankind, p. 139 seq.

ὑπερβάλλοντι, ‘if excessively hot.’

καταρῶνται. Strabo (822) tells the same story of an Ethiopian tribe; cf. 94. 4 n.

Ἄτλας. H. (or his informant) has blended the Greek tradition (cf. ii. 33. 3n.) as to the giant, who ἔχει . . . κίονας αὐτὸς μακρὰς αἳ γαῖάν τε καὶ οὐρανὸν ἀμφὶς ἔχουσι (Od. i. 53), with vague knowledge of the mountain-block of the Atlas, which runs half across North Africa, from Morocco to the lesser Syrtis. The ‘Pillar of Heaven’ may be a native idea, but it looks suspiciously Greek (cf. Aesch. P.V. 351, and Pind. Pyth. i. 19, of Etna).

ἔμψυχον οὐδέν. The purely vegetable diet of the Atlantes is an exaggerated generalization from the fact that the North Africans live mainly on dates and meal.

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  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 351
    • Homer, Odyssey, 1.53
    • Pindar, Pythian, 1
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