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Since the affairs of Leptis have led me into these regions, it will not be foreign to my subject to relate the noble and singular act of two Carthaginians, which the place has brought to my recollection.

At the time when the Carthaginians were masters of the greater part of Africa, the Cyrenians were also a great and powerful people. The territory that lay betweem them was sandy, and of a uniform appearance, without a stream or a hill to determine their respective boundaries; a circumstance which involved them in a severe and protracted war. After armies and fleets had been routed and put to flight on both sides, and each people had greatly weakened their opponents, fearing lest some third party should attack both victors and vanquished in a state of exhaustion, they came to an agreement, during a short cessation of arms, "that on a certain day deputies should leave home on either side, and that the spot where they should meet should be the common boundary between the two states." From Carthage, accordingly, were dispatched two brothers, who were named Philæni,1 and who traveled with great expedition. The deputies of the Cyrenians proceeded more slowly; but whether from indolence or accident I have not been informed. However, a storm of wind in these deserts will cause obstruction to passengers not less than at sea; for when a violent blast, sweeping over a level surface devoid of vegetation,2 raises the sand from the ground, it is driven onward with great force, and fills the mouth and eyes of the traveler, and thus, by hindering his view, retards his progress. The Cyranian deputies, finding that they had lost ground, and dreading punishment at home for their mismanagement, accused the Carthaginians of having left home before the time; quarreling about the matter, and preferring to do any thing rather than submit. The Philæni, upon this, asked them to name any other mode of settling the controversy, provided it were equitable; and the Cyrenians gave them their choice, " either that they should be buried alive in the spot which they claimed as the boundary for their people, or that they themselves, on the same conditions, should be allowed to go forward to whatever point they should think proper." The Philæni, having accepted the conditions, sacrificed themselves3 to the interest of their country, and were interred alive. The people of Carthage consecrated altars to the brothers on the spot; and other honors were instituted to them at home. I now return to my subject.

1 LXXIX. Philæni] The account of these Carthaginian brothers with a Greek name, φίλαινοι, praise-loving, is probably a fable. Cortius thinks that the inhabitants, observing two mounds rising above the surrounding level, fancied they must have been raised, not by nature, but by human labor, and invented a story to account for their existence. " The altars," according to Mr. Rennell (Geog. of Herod., p. 640), " were situated about seven ninths of the way from Carthage to Cyrene; and the deception," he adds, "would have been too gross, had it been pretended that the Carthaginian party had traveled seven parts in nine, while the Cyrenians had traveled no more than two such parts of the way." Pliny (H. N. v. 4) says that the altars were of sand; Strabo (lib. iii.) says that in his time they had vanished. Pomponius Mela and Valerius Maximus repeat the story, but without adding any thing to render it more probable.

2 Devoid of vegetation] “Nuda gignentium.” So c. 93, cuncta gignentium natura. Kritzius justly observes that gignentia is not to be taken in the sense of genita, as Cortius and others interpret, but in its own active sense; the ground was bare of all that was productive, or of whatever generates any thing. This interpretation is suggested by Perizonius ad Sanctü Minerv. i. 15.

3 Sacrificed themselves] “Seque vitamqne--condonavere.” “"Nihil aliud est quàm vitam suam, sc. ἓν διὰ δυοῖν."” Allen.

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