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Melpomene   


do they practise the same customs as the wandering people, or treat
their children in the same way. For the wandering Libyans, many of
them at any rate, if not all- concerning which I cannot speak with
certainty- when their children come to the age of four years, burn the
veins at the top of their heads with a flock from the fleece of a
sheep: others burn the veins about the temples. This they do to
prevent them from being plagued in their after lives by a flow of
rheum from the head; and such they declare is the reason why they
are so much more healthy than other men. Certainly the Libyans are the
healthiest men that I know; but whether this is what makes them so, or
not, I cannot positively say- the healthiest certainly they are. If
when the children are being burnt convulsions come on, there is a
remedy of which they have made discovery. It is to sprinkle goat's
water upon the child, who thus treated, is sure to recover. In all
this I only repeat what is said by the Libyans.
The rites which the wandering Libyans use in sacrificing are the
following. They begin with the ear of the victim, which they cut off
and throw over their house: this done, they kill the animal by
twisting the neck. They sacrifice to the Sun and Moon, but not to
any other god. This worship is common to all the Libyans. The
inhabitants of the parts about Lake Tritonis worship in addition
Triton, Neptune, and Minerva, the last especially.
The dress wherewith Minerva's statues are adorned, and her
Aegis, were derived by the Greeks from the women of Libya. For, except
that the garments of the Libyan women are of leather, and their
fringes made of leathern thongs instead of serpents, in all else the
dress of both is exactly alike. The name too itself shows that the
mode of dressing the Pallas-statues came from Libya. For the Libyan
women wear over their dress stript of the hair, fringed at their
edges, and coloured with vermilion; and from these goat-skins the
Greeks get their word Aegis (goat-harness). I think for my part that
the loud cries uttered in our sacred rites came also from thence;
for the Libyan women are greatly given to such cries and utter them
very sweetly. Likewise the Greeks learnt from the Libyans to yoke four
horses to a chariot.
All the wandering tribes bury their dead according to the
fashion of the Greeks, except the Nasamonians. They bury them sitting,
and are right careful when the sick man is at the point of giving up
the ghost, to make him sit and not let him die lying down. The
dwellings of these people are made of the stems of the asphodel, and
of rushes wattled together. They can be carried from place to place.
Such are the customs of the afore-mentioned tribes.
Westward of the river Triton and adjoining upon the Auseans, are
other Libyans who till the ground, and live in houses: these people
are named the Maxyans. They let the hair grow long on the right side
of their heads, and shave it close on the left; they besmear their
bodies with red paint; and they say that they are descended from the
men of Troy. Their country and the remainder of Libya towards the west
is far fuller of wild beasts and of wood than the country of the
wandering people. For the eastern side of Libya, where the wanderers
dwell, is low and sandy, as far as the river Triton; but westward of
that the land of the husbandmen is very hilly, and abounds with
forests and wild beasts. For this is the tract in which the huge
serpents are found, and the lions, the elephants, the bears, the
aspicks, and the horned asses. Here too are the dog-faced creatures,
and the creatures without heads, whom the Libyans declare to have
their eyes in their breasts; and also the wild men, and wild women,
and many other far less fabulous beasts.
Among the wanderers are none of these, but quite other animals; as
antelopes, gazelles, buffaloes, and asses, not of the horned sort, but
of a kind which does not need to drink; also oryxes, whose horns are
used for the curved sides of citherns, and whose size is about that of
the ox; foxes, hyaenas porcupines, wild rams, dictyes, jackals,
panthers, boryes, land-crocodiles about three cubits in length, very

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