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 But besides these there is another method of dividing Ethiopia. All those who have sailed along the coasts of Libya, whether starting from the Arabian Gulf,1 or the Pillars,2 after proceeding a certain distance, have been obliged to turn back again on account of a variety of accidents; and thus originated a general belief that it was divided midway by some isthmus, although the whole of the Atlantic Ocean is confluent, more especially towards the south. Besides, all of these navigators called the final country which they reached, Ethiopia, and described it under that name. Is it therefore at all incredible, that Homer, misled by such reports, separated them into two divisions, one towards the east and the other west, not knowing whether there were any intermediate countries or not? But there is another ancient tradition related by Ephorus, which Homer had probably fallen in with. He tells us it is reported by the Tartessians,3 that some of the Ethiopians, on their arrival in Libya,4 penetrated into the extreme west, and settled down there, while the rest occupied the greater part of the sea-coast; and in support of this statement he quotes the passage of Homer, “The Ethiopians, the farthest removed of men, separated into two divisions.”
1 The Red Sea.
2 The Strait of Gibraltar.
3 The Tartessians were the inhabitants of the island of Tartessus, formed by the two arms of the Bætis, (the present Guadalquiver,) near the mouth of this river. One of these arms being now dried up, the island is reunited to the mainland. It forms part of the present district of Andalusia. The tradition, says Gosselin, reported by Ephorus, seems to me to resemble that still preserved at Tingis, a city of Mauritania, so late as the sixth century. Procopius (Vandalicor. ii. 10) relates that there were two columns at Tingis bearing the following inscription in the Phœnician language, ‘We are they who fled before the brigand Joshua, the son of Naue (Nun).’ It does not concern us to inquire whether these columns actually existed in the time of Procopius, but merely to remark two independent facts. The first is the tradition generally received for more than twenty centuries, that the coming of the Israelites into Palestine drove one body of Canaanites, its ancient inhabitants, to the extremities of the Mediterranean, while another party went to establish, among the savage tribes of the Peloponnesus and Attica, the earliest kingdoms known in Europe. The second observation has reference to the name of Ethiopians given by Ephorus to this fugitive people, as confirming what we have before stated, that the environs of Jaffa, and possibly the entire of Palestine, anciently bore the name of Ethiopia: and it is here we must leek for the Ethiopians of Homer, and not in the interior of Africa.
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