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Above Meroë is Psebo,1 a large lake, containing a well-inhabited island. As the Libyans occupy the western bank of the Nile, and the Ethiopians the country on the other side of the river, they thus dispute by turns the possession of the islands and the banks of the river, one party repulsing the other, or yielding to the superiority of its opponent.

The Ethiopians use bows of wood four cubits long, and hardened in the fire. The women also are armed, most of whom wear in the upper lip a copper ring. They wear sheepskins, without wool; for the sheep have hair like goats. Some go naked, or wear small skins or girdles of well-woven hair round the loins.

They regard as God one being who is immortal, the cause of all things; another who is mortal, a being without a name, whose nature is not clearly understood.

In general they consider as gods benefactors and royal persons, some of whom are their kings, the common saviours and guardians of all; others are private persons, esteemed as gods by those who have individually received benefits from them.

Of those who inhabit the torrid region, some are even supposed not to acknowledge any god, and are said to abhor even the sun, and to apply opprobrious names to him, when they behold him rising, because he scorches and tortures them with his heat; these people take refuge in the marshes.

The inhabitants of Meroë worship Hercules, Pan, and Isis, besides some other barbaric deity.2

Some tribes throw the dead into the river; others keep them in the house, enclosed in hyalus (oriental alabaster ?). Some bury them around the temples in coffins of baked clay. They swear an oath by them, which is reverenced as more sacred than all others.

Kings are appointed from among persons distinguished for their personal beauty, or by their breeding of cattle, or for their courage, or their riches.

In Meroë the priests anciently held the highest rank, and sometimes sent orders even to the king, by a messenger, to put an end to himself, when they appointed another king in his place. At last one of their kings abolished this custom, by going with an armed body to the temple where the golden shrine is, and slaughtering all the priests.

The following custom exists among the Ethiopians. If a king is mutilated in any part of the body, those who are most attached to his person, as attendants, mutilate themselves in the same manner, and even die with him. Hence the king is guarded with the utmost care. This will suffice on the subject of Ethiopia.

1 Tsana.

2 According to Diod. Sic. iii. 9 this was Jupiter.

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