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 After Asia comes Libya, which adjoins Egypt and Ethiopia. The coast next us, from Alexandria almost to the Pillars, is in a straight line, with the exception of the Syrtes, the sinuosities of some moderately sized bays, and the projection of the promontories by which they are formed. The side next the ocean from Ethiopia up to a certain point is almost parallel to the former; but after this the southern portions become narrowed into a sharp peak, extending a little beyond the Pillars of Hercules, and giving to the country something the figure of a trapezium. Its appearance, both by the accounts of other writers, and also the description given to ourselves by Cnæus Piso, who was governor of this province, is that of a panther's skin, being dotted over with habitations surrounded by parched and desert land: these habitations the Egyptians call Auases.1 This continent offers besides several other peculiarities, which may be said to divide it into three distinct portions. Most of the coast next us is very fertile, more especially about the Cyrenaic and the parts about Carthage, as far as Maurusia and the Pillars of Hercules.2 Next the ocean it is likewise tolerably fitted for the habitation of man; but not so the centre of the country, which produces silphium;3 this for the most part is barren, rugged, and sandy; and the same is the case with regard to the whole of Asia lying under the same right line which traverses Ethiopia, the Troglodytic,4 Arabia, and the part of Gedrosia occupied by the Ichthyophagi.5 The people inhabiting Libya are for the most part unknown to us, as it has rarely been entered, either by armies or adventurers. But few of its inhabitants from the farther parts come amongst us, and their accounts are both incomplete and not to be relied on. The sum of what they say is as follows. Those which are most southern are called Ethiopians.6 North of these the principal nations are the Garamantes, the Pharusians, and the Nigritæ.7 Still farther north are the Gætuli. Close to the sea, and adjoining it next Egypt, and as far as the Cyrenaic, dwell the Marmaridæ.8 Above9 the Cyrenaic and the Syrtes10 are the Psylli and Nasamones,11 and certain of the Gætuli; and after them the Asbystæ12 and Byzacii,13 as far as Carthage. Carthage is vast. Adjoining it are the Numidæ14 ;of these people the tribes best known to us are called the Masylies and the Masuæsylii. The most westerly are the Maurusians.15 The whole land, from Carthage to the Pillars of Hercules, is fertile. Nevertheless it abounds in wild beasts no less than the interior; and it does not seem improbable that the cause why the name of Nomades,16 or Wanderers, was bestowed on certain of these people originated in their not being able anciently to devote themselves to husbandry on account of the wild beasts. At the present day, when they are well skilled in hunting, and are besides assisted by the Romans in their rage for the spectacle of fights with beasts, they are both masters of the beasts and of husbandry. This finishes what we have to say on the continents.
1 Or Oases, according to the common spelling.
2 That is to say, from Tunis to Gibraltar. The Maurusians, called by the Latins Mauritanians, occupied the present Algiers and Fez.
3 Probably asa-fœtida.
4 The Troglodytic extended along the western coast of the Arabian Gulf.
5 The Ichthyophagi of Gedrosia inhabited the barren coasts of Mekran.
6 The term of Ethiopians was a generic name given by the Greeks and Romans to the most southern inhabitants of Africa they at any time happened to be acquainted with; consequently the position of this country frequently shifted.
7 The Garamantæ inhabited the Kawan; Garama, their capital, is now named Gherma. The Pharusians and Nigritæ dwelt south of the present kingdom of Morocco.
8 The Marmaridæ extended west from Egypt, as far as Catabathmus, near the present Cape Luco.
9 Viz. to the south and west.
10 The Gulfs of Sydra and Cabes.
11 The Psylli and Nasamones inhabited the eastern parts of the present kingdom of Tripoli, above the Greater Syrtes and the desert of Barca.
12 The Asbystæ were a people of Libya above Cyrene, where the temple of Ammon stood; Jupiter is sometimes called on that account Asbysteus.
13 The Byzacii occupied the southern parts of the kingdom of Tunis.
14 Greek, Nomades, or wandering shepherds, from which the Latins formed the name Numidæ. These people inhabited Algiers.
15 Carthage extended as far west as the promontory of Tretum, now Sebta-Ras or the Seven Heads. From thence the Masylies inhabited as far as Cape Carbon; and from thence the Masesylii possessed the country as far as the river Molochath, now the Maluia, beyond which were the Maurusians extending to the Atlantic.
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