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 When the poet says, “‘I went to the country of the Ethiopians, Sidonians, and Erembi,’1” it is doubtful, what people he means by Sidonians, whether those who lived near the Persian Gulf, a colony from which nation are the Sidonians in our quarter (in the same manner as historians relate, that some Tyrian islanders are found there, and Aradii, from whom the Aradii in our country derive their origin), or whether the poet means actually the Sidonians themselves. But there is more doubt about the Erembi, whether we are to suppose that he means the Troglodytæ, according to the opinion of those who, by a forced etymology, derive the word Erembi from ἔραν ἐμ<*>αίνειν, that is, ‘entering into the earth,’ or whether he means the Arabians. Zeno the philosopher of our sect alters the reading in this manner, “‘And Sidoni, and Arabes;’” but Poseidonius alters it with a small variation, “‘And Sidonii, and Arambi,’” as if the poet gave the name Arambi to the present Arabians, from their being so called by others in his time. He says also, that the situation of these three nations close to one another indicates a descent from some common stock, and that on this account they are called by names having a resemblance to one another, as Armenii, Aramæi, Arambi. For as we may suppose one nation to have been divided into three (according to the differences of latitude [in which they lived], which successively became more marked [in proceeding from one to the other]), so in like manner we may suppose that several names were adopted in place of one. The proposed change of reading to Eremni is not probable, for that name is more applicable to the Ethiopians. The poet mentions also the Arimi, whom Poseidonius says are meant here, and not a place in Syria or Cilicia, or any other country, but Syria itself. For the Aramæi lived there. Perhaps these are the people whom the Greeks called Arimæi or Arimi. But the alterations of names, especially of barbarous nations, are frequent, Thus Darius was called Darieces; Parysatis, Pharziris; Athara, Atargata, whom Ctesias again calls Derceto.2 Alexander might be adduced to bear witness to the wealth of the Arabians, for he intended, it is said, after his return from India, to make Arabia the seat of empire. All his enterprises terminated with his death, which happened suddenly; but certainly one of his projects was to try whether the Arabians would receive him voluntarily, or resist him by force of arms; for having found that they did not send ambassadors to him, either before or after his expedition to India, he was beginning to make preparations for war, as we have said in a former part of this work.
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