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For the Maxyes cf. c. 175 n.; they are supposed to have lived near Carthage.

χρίονται. The Tuaregs still stain themselves, the men blue, the women yellow; Duveyrier (p. 431) says they do this as a protection against changes of climate.

ἐκ Τροίης. For prehistoric migrations of Trojans cf. v. 13. 2 (the Paeonians), vii. 20 n., and Thuc. vi. 2. 3 (the Elymi at Egesta). For possible joint attacks of Libyan and Asiatic tribes on Egypt cf. App. X. 8.

τὸ πρὸς ἑσπέρης. H. is quite right as to the contrast between the eastern and the western parts of the North African coast (c. 181 n.). Full discussions of the fauna in this chapter and 192 will be found in Bähr and (later) in R. Neumann, pp. 152 seq. Of the nine beasts in this chapter, six are right, and the ὄνοι can be explained with some probability; the two remaining are monsters (the ‘dogheads’ and the ‘headless’) which seem to be more than doubted by H. (v. i.).

ὄφιες οἱ ὑπερμεγάθεες: the largest python on record is the one that stopped the army of Regulus and had to be killed by the Roman engines (Liv. Ep. 18 ‘serpens portentosae magnitudinis’, cf. too Silius vi. 140 f.). Pliny (viii. 37) says its skin, brought to Rome, measured 120 feet; but it belongs to the days of prescientific measurements! The largest authentic python is about 30 feet long.

λέοντες. H. is right as to the presence of lions and bears.

ἐλέφαντες. Elephants were once common in North Africa (Pliny, N. H. viii. 32, and cf. Bähr), but the needs of the Carthaginian armaments and of Roman amphitheatres extirpated them north of the desert, even as the modern big-game hunter is extirpating them now all over Africa. H. is the first writer to use ‘elephant’ (R. Neumann, p. 154).

ἀσπίδες. For the asp cf. ii. 74 n

ὄνοι. Probably by the horned ass is meant some kind of antelope.

κυνοκέφαλοι κτλ. Some explain the κυνοκέφαλοι and the ἀκέφαλοι as monkeys; the ‘dog-headed’ baboon is found in the mountains of Africa, and the ‘headless’ might be a kind of ape with its head so sunk in its shoulders that its eyes seemed to be in its breast (Neumann). But it is more probable that these are monsters; so Pliny (v. 46) certainly understood the passage; he says the ‘headless’ were called ‘Blemmyae’, and classes them with ‘Satyrs, goatfeet’, and others. Aeschylus (in Strabo 43) wrote of the στερνόφθαλμοι (cf. note on ἀκατάψευστα inf.)

ἄγριοι ἄνδρες. The ‘wild men’ are doubtless the ‘gorillas’, which Hanno (G. G. M. i. 13, circ. 500 B. C.) speaks of on the West Coast of Africa; he brought three skins of females to Carthage.

ἀκατάψευστα. This passage is most important as a criterion of H.'s credulity. R. Neumann (p. 155; cf. Introd. p. 44) thinks that H. accepts all the creatures of § 4 as ‘beasts’, but throws the responsibility for the account of them on the Libyans. But the last three lines seem to deal with ‘men’, not beasts.

It is better, therefore, to suppose that the ὡς δὴ . . . Αιβύων marks off the κυνοκέφαλοι and the ἀκέφαλοι as creatures for which H. disclaims any responsibility; he simply reports, and in ἀκαταψευστά clearly hints disbelief.

At any rate it is significant that the qualifying words do not refer to the ἄγριοι ἄνδρες, for whose existence there was real evidence at Carthage (i. e. Hanno's, v. s.).

Stein well compares Arist. H. A. viii. 28, 606 b; the animals of Africa are πολυμορφότερα; hence the proverb αἰεὶ Αιβύη φερει τι καινόν.

It is instructive to compare Ctesias (Ind. c. 20, p. 252), who gives a long account of the κυνοκέφαλοι; they are a tribe 120,000 strong, who cannot talk, but understand what is said to them!

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Thucydides, Histories, 6.2.3
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 8.32
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