translated by Shlomo Felberbaum

Text and photographs Copyright © 1999—2003 Lost Trails
all rights reserved

Installment 26

Then after the Ammonians through the ridge of the sand at an interval of another ten days’ way is a hill of salt similar to the Ammonian and water and human beings are settled round it. Now, that place’s name is Augila. To that place the Nasamonians go frequently and gather the fruit of the palms.

Then from Augila at an interval of ten other days’ way is another hill of salt and water and many fruit-bearing palms, just according as also in the other places. And human beings are settled in it, whose name is the Garamantians, a mightily large nation, who put earth on the salt and thus sow. Now, there is a shortest route to the Lotuseaters; of thirty days is a way to them, among whom in fact are born the backward grazing cattle and they are backward grazing on account of this: they have horns bent to what’s forward. On account of that they go back backwards and graze; for to what’s forward they are not able to go as their horns would stick forward into the earth. And they differ in no other way from all the rest of the cattle except in that and in their skin in respect to thickness and wear. Those Garamantians indeed hunt the cavedwellling Ethiopians with their four-horse chariots; for the cavedwelling Ethiopians are swiftest of feet of all human beings, concerning whom we have heard speeches brought away. Moreover, the cavedwelling ones feed on serpents, lizards and those of the creeping things like that and have customarily used a tongue nearly similar to no other, but are squealers just according as the bats.

Then from the Garamantians at an interval of another ten days’ way is another hill of salt and water and human beings are settled round it, whose name is the Atarantians, who are the only nameless ones among the human beings that we know; for theirs all together is the name Atarantians, but to each one of them no name is given. Those at the sun’s rising over curse and in addition to that use all kinds of shameful abuse, in that it burns and wears them down, the human beings themselves and their country. Then afterwards at an interval of another ten days another hill of salt and water and human beings are settled round it. And near to that salt is a mountain, whose name’s Atlas, and it is narrow and circular every way and is spoken of as something quite so high as for it to be not possible to see for oneself its peaks: for at no time in fact do snows abandon them in either summer or winter. That is the pillar of the sky say the natives. After that mountain the human beings came to be named, as indeed they are called Atlantians. Further, they are said to neither feed on anything animate nor see dreams.

Indeed up to those Atlantians I am able to recount the names of those settled down on the ridge, but in respect what’s after that no longer. Anyhow, the ridge extends through up to the Pillars of Heracles and what’s outside of that and there is a mine of salt on it at an interval of ten days’ way and human beings who are settled. Moreover, the houses of all those are built out of salt lumps; for those spots in Libya by now are rainless, as the walls, being salt, would not be able to remain, if it were raining. Further, the salt in that very place both white and purple in its looks is dug up and inland of that ridge, in respect to what’s toward the south and into the interior of Libya, desolate, waterless, beastless, rainless and woodless is the country and of moisture there is in it nothing.

Thus up to the Tritonian lake from Egypt are pastoral meateating and milkdrinking Libyans, and both taste nothing of female cattle, on the very account that not the Egyptians too, and keep no pigs. Now, of female cattle not even the Cyrenians’ women think just to eat on account of Isis in Egypt, but both fasts for her and festivals bring to completion, while the Barcians’ women not pigs too in addition to cows taste.

That indeed is thus and in respect to what’s toward the west of the Tritonian lake no longer are pastoral Libyans since they both use not the same laws and concerning their small children do not anything of the kind that also the pastoral ones are wont to do. For indeed the Libyans’ nomads, whether all, I am not able exactly to say that, but some of them act like this: of their small children, whenever they become four years old, with wool-grease of cattle they burn the veins on their pates and several of them those on their temple for this reason, that not them for all time in its flowing down from the head phlegm may injure. And on account of that they say they are the healthiest. For how truly are the Libyans of all human beings the healthiest that we know; whether on account of that I am not able exactly to say; anyhow, they are the healthiest. Then if on their burning their small children a convulsion supervenes, there has been found out by them a remedy; for by sprinkling goat’s urine they rescue them. I say then what the Libyans themselves say.

Further, the ways of sacrificing of the pastoral ones are these: whenever they take the first-fruits of the ear of the victim, they cast it over the house and, having done that, they wring its neck. And they sacrifice to the sun and moon only. Now, to those all Libyans sacrifice, but those who dwell round the Tritonian lake to Athena most and afterwards to Triton and Poseidon.

So after all the clothing and the aegises of the images of Athena after the Libyan women the Greeks made for themselves; for except that the clothing of the Libyan women is leather and the tassels of their aegises are not snakes but made of thongs, all the other dress then after the same fashion has been made. And indeed even the name makes an accusation that from Libya has come the dress of the statues of Pallas; for the Libyan women throw round their clothing hairless tasselled aegeae smeared with madder and from those aegeae the Greeks changed the name to aegises. Moreover, the cry in shrines too seems to me at any rate there first to have come about, as the Libyan women use that very much and use it beautifully. And the Greeks have learned to yoke together four horses from the Libyans.

Further, the pastoral ones bury their dead just according as the Greeks, except the Nasamonians, and those bury them sitting down and are on guard, whenever one lets go of one’s soul, that they will seat one down and one will not die on one’s back. And houses are constructed of asphodel stalks twined round reeds and those are portable. Laws like that those use.

Now, in what’s toward the west of the Triton river next to the Ausians are by now the ploughing Libyans and accustomed to possess homes, to whom the name Maxyians is given, who wear their hair long on the parts on the right of their heads and shave the parts on the left and smear their body with red ochre. And those assert they are descended from the men from Troy and that country and the remaining part of Libya toward the west is much more beast-filled and more wooded than the country of the pastoral ones. For indeed that toward the east of Libya, which the pastoral ones inhabit, is low and sandy up to the Triton river, but from that spot what’s toward the west, that of the ploughing ones, is very mountainous, wooded and beast-filled; for in fact there are the very large snakes and the lions among them as well as the elephants and bears and asps and the asses with their horns and the dog-headed ones and those with their eyes in their chests, as indeed they are spoken of at any rate by the Libyans, and the wild men and wild women and in multitude many other beasts unfalsified.

But among the pastoral ones is no one of those, but others like this: white-rumps, gazelles, antelopes and asses, not those with their horns, but others undrinking (for indeed they drink not) as well as oryxes, whose horns are made the lyres’ side-pieces (and in size that beast is like a bull), foxes, hyenas, porcupines, wild rams, dictyses, jackals, panthers, boryses, land crocodiles approximately of three cubits, most like lizards, subterranean sparrows and small snakes, each with one horn. Those indeed in that very place are the beasts and the very that are in all the other land, except deer and wild boar; so deer and wild boar in Libya altogether is not. Moreover. of mice three kinds are in that very place; some are called two-footed, some zegeries (and that name is Libyan and means in the Greek tongue “mounds”) and some bristly. And there are also weasels that originate in silphium, most similar to the Tartessian. Now so many beasts the pastoral Libyans’ land has,as far as we by inquiring over the greatest extent proved able to come out to.

Then next to the Libyan Maxyians are the Zauecians, for whom the women hold the reins of the chariots for war.

Then next to those are the Gyzantians, among whom bees work out much honey and much more still it is said that craftsmen make. Anyhow, all those smear themselves with red ochre and eat monkeys and for them those are abundant that originate in the mountains.

Then off those the Carchedonians say lies an island, whose name is Cyrauis, in length of two hundred stades, in breadth narrow, able to be walked to from the mainland and full of olive-trees and vines. And a lake is on it, from which the maidens of the natives with feathers of birds smeared with pitch out of the mud bring up dust of gold. That whether it is truly I know not, but what is said I write. Yet everything could be, inasmuch as in fact in Zacynthus from a lake and water pitch’s being brought up I myself saw. The lakes in that very place are in fact more; anyhow, the largest of them is of seventy feet every way and in depth two fathoms. Into that a pole they let down when on the end a myrtle-branch they have attached and thereafter they bring up with the myrtle-branch pitch with asphalt’s odor and in all other respects better than Pierian pitch. Then they pour it into a reservoir dug near the lake and, whenever they collect much, thus into jars from the reservoir they pour it down. So whatever falls into the lake goes under the earth and reappears in the sea and it is distant approximately four stades from the lake. Thus then also what’s from the island that lies off Libya is resembling truth.

The Carchedonians say also this, that there is a place and human beings settled down outside of the Pillars of Heracles, by whom, whenever they come and take out for themselves their wares, they put them in a row alongside the breaking of the waves and, when they have stepped into their boats, they cause a slow burning with smoke; then the natives, after they have seen for themselves the smoke, go to the sea and thereafter in exchange for the wares put gold and move back away further from the wares; so the Carchedonians, having stepped out, make an inspection and, if the gold appears to them worth the wares, take it up for themselves and depart, but if it appears not worth, step back into their boats and sit down, and the others go forward and then put in addition other gold, until they should bring about persuasion, and neither group acts unjustly; for neither they themselves touch the gold until for them it should be made to equal out to the worth of the wares nor those touch the wares before they themselves should take hold of the gold.

Now, those are they among the Libyans whom we are able to name and of those the many of the Medes’ king neither in any respect now nor then had thought at all. And so much still I am able to say about that country, that four nations inhabit it and no more than those, as far as we know, and two of the nations are autochthonous and two not; the Libyans and the Ethiopians are autochthonous, as the one group is settled in what’s toward the north of Libya and the other in what’s toward the south, and the Phoenicians and the Greeks are incomers.

So it seems to me not in fact in respect to virtue is any Libya so excellent as to be compared to either Asia or Europe, except Cinyps alone; for indeed the same name does the land have as the river. And that’s similar to the best of the lands at bringing forth Demeter’s fruit and resembles not at all the rest of Libya, as it’s black-soiled and watered on by fountains and it by neither having thought of drought nor drinking more rain is harmed, because indeed those parts of Libya are rained on. And of the bringings forth of the fruit the same measures as the Babylonian land’s are established. Moreover, good too is the land which the Euhesperians inhabit; for a hundredfold, whenever it itself brings out its best, it brings forth, but the land in Cinyps three-hundredfold.

Further, the Cyrenian country in fact has, being the highest in that Libya that the pastoral ones inhabit, three seasons in it worth marvelling, in that first what’s by the sea of the fruits are ripe to be reaped and gathered, then, those indeed conveyed together, what’s inland of the sea countries that they call “mounds” are ripe to be conveyed together and finally that middle fruit is done being conveyed together and that in the uppermost part of the land is brought to maturity and ripe so that the first fruit is done being drunk out and eaten up and the last comes to be present simultaneously. Thus over the extent of eight months a harvest occupies the Cyrenians. Now, let that over so great an extent be said.

So the Persian avengers of Pheretime, when they had been dispatched from Egypt by Aryandes and come to Barce, were besieging the city and announcing out that they should give over those responsible for the killing of Arcesilaus and, because the whole multitude was a sharer in that, they would not receive the speeches. Then indeed they were besieging the city for nine months by digging underground excavations that led to the wall and performing forceful assaults. Now, the excavations a man, a smith, discovered with a bronze-covered shield by his thinking through in this way: he brought it round within the wall and held it to the ground of the city. All the other parts were dumb that he held it to, but at the parts that were dug out rang the bronze of the shield. Then by countermining there the Barcians killed among the Persians the diggers of earth. That indeed thus was found out and the assaults the Barcians repelled.

Now, when they were wearing away for themselves much time and there were falling many of both sides and not less the Persians, Amasis, the general of the foot, contrived a thing like this: having learned about the Barcians that in accordance with what’s violent they were not capturable, but by treachery were capturable, he acted like this: at night he dug a broad ditch and stretched out pieces of wood lacking strength over it; then above, on top of the pieces of wood, a heap of earth he placed across and made it level with the rest of the earth.Then together with day to speeches he called himself forth the Barcians and they gladly heeded until it pleased them to make use of an agreement. So they reached the agreement, one like this: on the hidden trench they swore oaths that, as long as that earth should be thus, the oath should remain in place and the Barcians should assert that they should pay due tribute to the king and the Persians that they should make no innovation against the Barcians. Then after the oath the Barcians, having put faith in that, themselves went out of the city and among their enemies let go by to the wall whoever wanted, after they had opened up all the gates. But the Persians broke down the hidden bridge and ran to the wall. And they performed the breaking down for this reason, that in respect to the bridge they had made they might abide by their oath, since they had sworn to the Barcians that the oath should remain on each and every occasion all the time that the earth remained according as then it had been, but when they had performed the breaking down, no longer the oath remained in place.

Now, those most responsible among the Barcians Pheretime, when they had been given over to her by the Persians, impaled round the wall and of their women she cut off their breasts and also adorned at intervals all round with those the wall. And those left of the Barcians as booty she bade the Persians render, except all of them who were the relatives of Battus and not sharers of responsibility in respect to his killing; to those then Pheretime entrusted the city.

It is those left of the Barcians then indeed that the Persians led into captivity and went away back and, when they stood at the Cyrenians’ city, the Cyrenians by way of discharging as a holy duty some oath let them go through the town and out. Then, the host going through and out, Badres, the general of the naval army, bade take the city, but Amasis, the general of the foot, would not allow it, because against Barce he was dispatched away and no other Greek city, until, after they had gone through and out and were sitting on Lycaean Zeus’ height, it repented them not having gotten hold of Cyrene and they tried for the second time to go to it, but the Cyrenians would not overlook that. Then, although with the Persians no one was fighting, fear fell on them and they, having run away approximately sixty stades, sat. So for the camp, when it had been set up there, came from Aryandes a messenger who called them away. And the Persians requested that the Cyrenians should give them things for the way in fact and, having taken hold of them, they departed to Egypt. But having taken over thereafter them, the Libyans for the sake of their clothing and equipment those of them left behind and drawn after killed, until they came to Egypt.

That army of Persians in Libya farthest to Euhesperidae went and, whom they had led into captivity, those then they caused to be drawn up from Egypt to the king and the king, Darius, gave them in the Bactrian country a village to be settled down in. Then they to that village gave as a name Barce, the very place that still even to my time was settled in the Bactrian land.

And Pheretime also plaited up not her life well. For, as soon as from Libya, after she had punished the Barcians, she returned back to Egypt, she died evilly, in that alive with worms she seethed, as the exceedingly violent acts of revenge prove liable to envy from gods. So indeed Pheretime Battus’ daughter’s revenge against the Barcians proved of that kind and of that size.

end of Book 4

(to be continued)

Text and photographs Copyright © 1999—2003 Lost Trails
all rights reserved