BOOK III - The Library of History

Bibliotheca historica
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Page 108 Being therefore that they never were conquer'd by reason of the largeness of their Country, they flow as it were in Streams of Gold and Silver, especially at Sabas, the Seat Royal of their Kings: Their Vessels, and all their Cups are of Gold and Silver, and likewise their Beds, Chairs and Stools have their Feet of Silver; and all other their Houshold-stuff is so sumptuous and magnificent, that it's incredible. The Portico's of their Houses and Temples, are some of them overlaid with Gold, and Silver Statues are plac'd upon some of the Chapiters of the Temples. The Doors and Roofs of their inner Rooms, are adorn'd with many Golden Bowls, set with pretious Stones. The like wonderful cost they are at throughout their whole Building, adorning them in some Parts with Silver and Gold, in others with Ivory and precious Stones, and other things of great value. For they have injoy'd a constant and uninterrupted Peace for many Ages and Generations, being very far remote from those whose Covetousness prompts them to advance their Gain by the Riches of others.

The Sea there, is of a very white colour, so that a Man may as justly wonder at the strangeness of the thing, as be inquisitive what should be the cause.

Near hereunto are the Fortunate Islands, full of wall'd Towns; where all the Sheep and Cattel are exceeding white, and none of the Females bear any Horns. The Merchants from all parts resort to these Islands, especially from Potana, built by Alexander the Great, upon the Banks of the River Indus, that there might be a commodious Port Town for shipping upon those Coasts: But of this Country and its Inhabitants we have said enough.

And now we are not to omit what Wonders are seen there in the Heavens: What is said of the North Pole, is greatly to be admir'd, and puts all Mariners at a stand. For during the Month which the Athenians call Memacterion, none of the Seven Stars are seen about the Bear, till the first Watch of the Night; and in Posidion not till the Second: In the following Months, few of these (i'ts said) are seen by them at Sea, nor any of the Planets at all. As for the rest, some of them seem to be greater at the time of their rising, than they do with us; others not to rise and set in the same manner. Nor that the Sun (as with us) enlightens the Air upon the approach of it's rising, but even while its dark night, strangely and on a suddain appears, darting forth his refulgent Rays: And therefore there both Day and Sun appears together. They say it rises out of the middle of the Sea like a burning Coal, and shoots forth great Sparks of Fire, and appears not in a round form (as it seems to do with us) but like to a Pillar something thicker than ordinary towards the Head; and that it shines not bright, nor casts forth any Rays till one a Clock, but glows like Fire in the Night without Light; at Two a Clock it resembles the form of a Shield, and sends forth on a suddain, a fiery scorching Light, even to admiration. But near the time of it's setting, it's effects are contrary; for during the space of Two (or as Agatharchides of Cnidus says) Three Hours before (which is the most pleasant part of the Day to the Inhabitants) he both inlightens the World by his Rays, and abates in his Heat as he sets by degrees.

The West, South, North-west and East Winds, blow here, as in other Parts of the World; but the South Winds never blow, nor are ever known in Ethiopia. But in Troglodita and Arabia, the South Winds are so exceeding hot, that they sometimes set whole Woods on Fire; and though the Inhabitants run into their Cottages for shelter, yet they faint and pine away with Heat; therefore North Winds are justly judg'd the best, which run through the whole Earth, and are always cool and refreshing.

Having now given an account of these Countries, it will well agree with the Course of our History, to describe Lybia, bordering upon Egypt; for in Cyren, the Syrtes, and in the Mid-lands, inhabit Four sorts of Africans: Those call'd Nasomones possess the Parts towards the South; the Auchises the West: The Marmarides inhabit that large Tract lying between Cyrene and Egypt, as far as to the Sea-Coast: The Macae the most populous of all the rest, have their Habitations near the Syrtes.

Some of these before-mention'd People are Husband-men, as having Fertil Lands, fit for all sorts of Tillage: Others are Shepherds and Herdsmen, who imploy themselves in feeding of Cattel, and maintain themselves and Families by that means. Both sorts are under a Kingly Government, not living altogether like



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