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They are again mistaken when they say that he was not aware of the isthmus between the sea of Egypt and the Arabian Gulf, and that his description is false,

“ The Ethiopians, utmost of mankind,
These eastward situate, those toward the west.1

Odyssey i. 23.
Nevertheless he is correct, and the criticism of the moderns is quite out of place: indeed, there is so little truth in the assertion that Homer was ignorant of this isthmus, that I will venture to affirm he was not only acquainted with it, but has also accurately defined it. But none of the grammarians, not even the chiefs of their number, Aristarchus and Crates, have understood the words of our poet on this subject. For they disagree as to the words which follow this expression of Homer,

“ The Ethiopians, utmost of mankind,
These eastward situate, those towards the west,2

Odyssey i. 23.
Aristarchus writing, “ These towards the west, and those towards the east,

” and Crates, “ As well in the west as also in the east.

” However, in regard to their hypotheses, it makes no difference whether the passage were written this way or that. One of them, in fact, takes what he considers the mathematical view of the case, and says that the torrid zone is occupied by the ocean,3 and that on each side of this there is a temperate zone, one inhabited by us and another opposite thereto. And as we call the Ethiopians, who are situated to the south, and dwell along the shores of the ocean, the most distant on the face of the inhabited globe; so he supposed that on the other side of the ocean,4 there were certain Ethiopians dwelling along the shores, who would in like manner be considered the most distant5 by the inhabitants of the other temperate zone; and thus that the Ethiopians were double, separated into two divisions by the ocean. He adds, ‘as well in the west as also in the east,’ because as the celestial zodiac always corresponds to the terrestrial, and never exceeds in its obliquity the space occupied by the two Ethiopias, the sun's entire course must necessarily be within this space, and also his rising and setting, as it appears to different nations according to the sign which he may be in.

He (Crates) adopted this version, because he considered it the more astronomical. But it would have maintained his opinion of the division of the Ethiopians into two parts, and at the same time have been much more simple, had he said that the Ethiopians dwelt on either side of the ocean from the rising to the setting of the sun. In this case what difference does it make whether we follow his version, or adopt the reading of Aristarchus, “ These towards the west, and those towards the east?

” which also means, that whether east or west, on either side of the ocean, Ethiopians dwell. But Aristarchus rejects this hypothesis. He says, ‘The Ethiopians with whom we are acquainted, and who are farthest south from the Greeks, are those described by the poet as being separated into two divisions. But Ethiopia is not so separated as to form two countries, one situated towards the west, the other towards the east, but only one, that which lies south of the Greeks and adjoins Egypt; but of this the poet was ignorant, as well as of other matters enumerated by Apollodorus, which he has falsely stated concerning various places in his second book, containing the catalogue of the ships.’

1 The Ethiopians, who are divided into two parts, the most distant of men, some at the setting of the sun, others at the rising. Odyssey i. 23.

2 Odyssey i. 23.

3 Many ancient writers entertained the opinion that the regions surrounding the terrestrial equator were occupied by the ocean, which formed a circular zone, separating our continent from that which they supposed to exist in the southern hemisphere. To the inhabitants of this second continent they gave the name of Antichthones.

4 The Southern Ocean.

5 Or nearest to the equator.

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