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Index

Index
The153 Club
The Agades Cross
People of the Sahara
Saharan Landscapes
Books on the Sahara(1)
Books on the Sahara(2)
Books on African Art
Saharan Salt Trade
The Gundi
Illizi Festival 2000
Sahara Freeze-up
Camel Cheese
153 Club Newsletter
153 News Update
Join the 153 Club
Today's African News

Père de Foucauld
L'Arbre du Ténéré 1
L'Arbre du Ténéré 2
Saharan Forts 1
Saharan Forts 2
Saharan Rock Art
Giraffe Engravings
Leo Africanus
Battuta's Saharan travels
Shabeni's Timbuktu
Timbuctoo the Mysterious
Heroditus & Pliny on Libya
Timbuktu, a poem

Joliba Trust
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 1
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 2
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 3
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 4
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 5
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 6

Old Michelin Maps
Early NW Africa Map 1
Early NW Africa Map 2
Early NW Africa Map 3
Early NW Africa Map 4
Early NW Africa Map 5
Saharan Exploration

Henry Barth 1
Henry Barth 2
Henry Barth 3
Denham & Clapperton 1
Denham & Clapperton 2
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 1
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 2
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 3
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 4

External Links

Jim Mann Taylor's Home Page
___________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Index

Index
The153 Club
The Agades Cross
People of the Sahara
Saharan Landscapes
Books on the Sahara(1)
Books on the Sahara(2)
Books on African Art
Saharan Salt Trade
The Gundi
Illizi Festival 2000
Sahara Freeze-up
Camel Cheese
153 Club Newsletter
153 News Update
Join the 153 Club
Today's African News

Père de Foucauld
L'Arbre du Ténéré 1
L'Arbre du Ténéré 2
Saharan Forts 1
Saharan Forts 2
Saharan Rock Art
Giraffe Engravings
Leo Africanus
Battuta's Saharan travels
Shabeni's Timbuktu
Timbuctoo the Mysterious
Heroditus & Pliny on Libya
Timbuktu, a poem

Joliba Trust
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 1
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 2
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 3
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 4
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 5
Ibn Khaldûn quotes 6

Old Michelin Maps
Early NW Africa Map 1
Early NW Africa Map 2
Early NW Africa Map 3
Early NW Africa Map 4
Early NW Africa Map 5
Saharan Exploration

Henry Barth 1
Henry Barth 2
Henry Barth 3
Denham & Clapperton 1
Denham & Clapperton 2
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 1
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 2
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 3
Haardt & Audouin-Dubreuil 4

External Links

Jim Mann Taylor's Home Page
___________________________

 

Herodotus & Pliny on Libya

Herodotus's Histories is the first great work of European prose. He was called the Father of History but also the Father of lies, and it is difficult to sort his truth from fiction. The following extracts on Libya are from Book Two and Book Four.
On the Course of the Nile (Herodotus)
I did however, hear a story from some people of Cyrene, who told me that during a visit to the oracle of Ammon they happened , in the course of conversation with Etearchus the Ammonian king, to get on to the subject of the Nile and the riddle of its source. Etearchus told them that he had once had a visit from certain Nasamonians, a people who live in Syrtis and the country a little to the eastward. Being asked if there was anything more they could tell him about uninhabited parts of Libya, these men declared that a group of young fellows, sons of chieftains in their country, had on coming -to manhood planned amongst themselves all sorts of extravagant adventures, one of which was to draw lots for five of their number to explore the Libyan desert and try to penetrate further than had ever been done before. The whole Mediterranean coast of Libya from Egypt to Cape Soloïs, where it ends, is inhabited by many different tribes of Libyans, except the portion which is possessed by Greeks and Phoenicians; but in the inland parts lying to the southward of the inhabited coastal district only wild beasts are to be found, and further still to the southward there is a waterless and sandy desert lout life of any kind. The story then was that the young men, sent off by their companions on their travels with a good supply of food and water, passed through tile inhabited parts of the country to the region of wild beasts and then came to the desert, which they proceeded to cross in a westerly direction. After travelling for many days over the sand they saw some trees growing on a level spot; they approached and began to pick the fruit which the trees bore, and while they were doing so were attacked by some little men - of less than middle height - who seized them and carried them off. The speech of these dwarfs was unintelligible, nor could they understand the Nasamonians. They took their captives through a vast tract of marshy country, and beyond it came to a town, all the inhabitants of which were of the same small stature, and all black. A great river with crocodiles in it flowed past the town from west to east.

On the Garamantes (Herodotus)
Further inland to the southward, in the part of Libya where wild beasts are found, live the Garamantes, who avoid all intercourse with men, possess no weapons of war, and do not know how to defend themselves. Along the coast to the westward the neighbours of the Nasamones are the Macae. These people wear their hair in the form of a crest, shaving it close on either side of the head and letting it grow long in the middle; in war they carry ostrich skins for shields. The river Cinyps, which rises on a hill called the Hill of the Graces, runs through their territory to the sea. The Hill of the Graces is about twenty-five miles inland, and is densely wooded, unlike the rest of Libya so far described, which is bare of trees.
…Ten days' journey west of the Ammonians, along the belt of sand, there is another similar salt-hill and spring. This place, called Augila, is also inhabited and it is here that the Nasamonians come for their date harvest. Again at the same distance to the west is a salt-hill and spring, just as before, with date palms of the fruit-bearing kind, as in the other oases; and here live the Garamantes, a very numerous tribe of people, who spread soil over the salt to sow their seed in. From these people is the shortest route—thirty days' journey—to the Lotophagi; and it is amongst them that the cattle are found which walk backwards as they graze. The reason for this curious habit is provided by the formation of their horns, which bend forwards and downwards; this prevents them from moving forwards in the ordinary way, for, if they tried to do so, their horns would stick in the ground. In other respects they are just like ordinary cattle—except for the thickness and toughness of their hide. The Garamantes hunt the Ethiopian hole-men, or troglodytes, in four-horse chariots, for these troglodytes are exceedingly swift of foot—more so than any people of whom we have any information. They eat snakes and lizards and other reptiles and speak a language like no other, but squeak like bats.

Pliny's account of the army led by Balbus in the Fezzan against the Garamantes

…Beyond the Lesser Syrtis is the region of Phazania; the nation of Phazanii belonging to which, as well as the cities of Alele and Cilliba, we have subdued by force of arms, as also Cydamus, which lies over against Sabrata. After passing these places a range of mountains extends in a prolonged chain from east to west; these have received from our people the name of Black Mountains, either from the appearance which they naturally bear of having been exposed to the action of fire, or else because they have been scorched by the sun's rays. Beyond it lies the desert, and then Talgae, a city of the Garamantes, and Debris, … Garama, too, that most famous capital of the Garamantes, all of which places have been subdued by the Roman arms. It was on this occasion that Cornelius Balbus was honoured with a triumph. … Besides Cydamus and Garama, there were carried in procession the names and models of all the other nations and cities in the following order; Tabudium, a town ; Niteris, a tribe ; the town of Nigligemela, the tribe or town of Bubeium, the tribe Enipi, the town Thuben, the mountain known as the Black Mountain, Nitibrum, the towns called Rapsa, the tribe Discera, the town Debris, the river Nathabur, the town Thapsagum, the tribe Nannagi, the town Boin, the town Pege, the river Dasibari; and then the towns in the following order, of Baracum, Buluba, Alasit, Galia, Balla, Maxalla, Zigama, and Mount Gyri, which was preceded by an inscription stating that this was the place where precious stones were produced.

…Up to the present, it has been found impracticable to keep open the road that leads to the country of the Garamantes, as the robber bands of that people have filled up the wells with sand, which wells do not require to be digged to any great depth, if you but have knowledge of the locality.


A Garamantian (after Lhote)

 

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