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Eth. PHARU´SII (Eth. Φαρούσιοι, Strab. ii. p.131, xvii. pp. 826, 828; Ptol. 4.6.17; Polyb. ap. Plin. 5.1. s. 8, 6.35), a people on the W. coast of N. Africa, about the situation of whom Strabo, Pliny, and Ptolemy are in perfect agreement with one another, if the thirty journeys of Strabo (p. 826) between them and Lixus (El-Araïsh), on the W. coast of Morocco, to the S. of Cape Spartel, be set aside as an error either of his information or of the text; which latter is not improbable, as numbers in MISS. are so often corrupt. Nor is this mere conjecture, because Strabo contradicts himself by asserting in another place (p. 828) that the Pharusii had a great desert between them and Mauretania, which they crossed, like natives of the present day, with bags of water hung from the bellies of their horses. (Leake, London Geog. Journ. vol. ii. p. 16.) This locality, extending from beyond Cape Bojador to the banks of the Senegal, was the seat of the many towns of the Tyrians, amounting, according to some (Strab. p. 826), to as many as 300, which were destroyed by the Pharusii and Nigritae. (Comp. Humboldt, Cosmos, vol. ii. p. 129, note 123, trans.) Strabo reckons this number of 300 commercial settlements, from which this part of the coast of the Atlantic received the name of SINUS EMPORICUS, as an exaggeration. He appears in this to have followed the criticism of Artemidorus upon Eratosthenes, whom Strabo depreciates. The number 300 may be an exaggeration, or one not intended to be literally taken; but it is incredible that Eratosthernes should represent a coast as covered with Phoenician factories where none existed.

When Ezekiel prophesies the fall of Tyre, it is said (27.10) “The men of Pheres (the common version reads Persia), and Lud, and Phut were in thine armies.” These Pheres thus joined with the Phut or Mauretanians, and the Ludim, who were [p. 2.592]nomads of Africa (the Septuagint and the Vulgate understand the Lydians), may be reasonably supposed to belong to the same region. Without the vowel points, the name will represent the powerful and warlike tribe whom the Greeks call Pharusii. The similarity of the names seems to have given rise to the strange story which Sallust (B. J. 18) copied from the Punic books, that Hercules had led an army of Persians into Africa. ( “Pharusii quondam Persae,” Plin. Nat. 5.8; comp. Pomp. Mela, 3.10.3.) The fierce tribes of Africa thus furnished the Phoenicians with inexhaustible supplies of mercenary troops, as they afterwards did to Carthage. (Kenrick, Phoenicia, pp. 135, 277.)


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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 5.8
    • Claudius Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, 4.6
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