, i. e. men of the height of a πυγμή
, i. e. thirteen and a half inches). A fabulous people, first
mentioned by Homer (
Il. iii. 5
) as dwelling on the shores of Ocean, and attacked by cranes
in springtime. The fable is repeated by numerous writers in various forms, especially as to
the locality, some placing them at the sources of the Nile (Aristot. H. A.
viii. 12) in Aethiopia, others in India (Pliny , Pliny H.
N. vi. 22
), and others in the extreme north of the earth (Eustath. ad
Hom. p. 372). Philostratus represents them as fighting with Her
Battle of Pygmies and Cranes. (Pompeian Caricature.)
acles, one army of them attacking his right hand and one his left
ii. 21). Aristotle did not regard the stories of the Pygmies as wholly
fabulous (H. A.
viii. 14), and recent African explorers have discovered in that
Continent two types of dwarfish people whose existence in ancient times coming vaguely to the
knowledge of the Greeks and Romans doubtless gave rise to the various stories about them.
Ctesias and Pomponius Mela also speak of Pygmies in Asia. See Tarver, The
Pygmies (London, 1894)
; Quatrefages, The Pygmies
, Eng. trans.
(New York, 1895)