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Eth. AUSENSES (Ἀυσεῖς), a Libyan people, in North Africa, dwelling about the lake Tritonis at the bottom of the Lesser Syrtis, next to the MACHLYES The Machlyes were on the S. side of the lake, and the Ausenses on the N. (E. and W. respectively, according to the view of Herodotus), the river Triton being the boundary between them: the latter people, therefore, were in the S. of the district afterwards called Byzacena. (Hdt. 4.180.) Herodotus makes them the last of the nomade peoples towards the W., their neighbours on that side, the MAXYES being an agricultural people. (Hdt. 4.191: it is hardly necessary to notice Rennell's allusion to, and obviously correct solution of, an inconsistency which the hypercritic may fancy between this passage and 100.186: Rennell, Herod. vol. ii. p. 302.) “The Machlyes,” says Herodotus, “wear the hair on the back of the head, but the Ausenses on the front. The Ausenses celebrated a yearly festival of Athena, whom they claimed as their native goddess, in which their virgins were divided into two parties, which fought each other with stones and clubs, and those who died of their wounds were esteemed not true virgins. The combat was preceded by a procession, in which the most beautiful of the virgins was decorated with a Corinthian helmet and a full suit of Grecian armour, and was drawn in a chariot round the lake.” (Comp. Mela, 1.7.) Respecting the supposed connection of the locality with the worship of Athena, see TRITON

The Ausenses are supposed by Pacho (Voyage dans la Marnarique, &c.) to be the same people as the Ausurii, who are mentioned by Synesius as devastating Cyrenaica in the 6th century. (Bähr, ad Herod. l.c.)


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