The Library of History

Page 98

Page 98 that they forc'd the Inhabitants out of the Country. In Media great Flocks of Sparrows ate up all the standing Corn, so as the People were forc'd to remove elsewhere. The People call'd Autariats, were forc'd by Frogs bred in the Clouds, which pour'd down upon them instead of Rain, to forsake their Country, and fly to these Parts where they are now settl'd. And who is there that is not well acquainted by Ancient Histories, how among those many Labours Hercules undertook to eternize his Name, his driving out those devouring Birds out of the Marishes of Stymphalides was one? And some Cities of Lybia were altogether depopulated by Lyons, breaking in upon them. And these Instances we have given to convince those that are apt to question whatsoever Historians relate that seem strange and unusual. But to return to the orderly Course of our History.

The Southern Border is inhabited by Men whom the Grecians call Cynomones; but by the neighbouring Barbarians they are call'd in their own Country Language Wild Ethiopians. They wear long Beards, and keep up numbers of fierce Dogs to get them Food. For from the beginning of the Summer Solstice to the middle of Winter, an innumerable number of Indian Oxen come into their Countrey; the Reason of it is unknown. For its uncertain whether they fly from cruel wild Beasts, which in Troops set upon them, or that they do it for want of Pasture, or upon some other Accident (the Effect of Nature, the Parent of all Wonders) which Man's Reason cannot comprehend. These Oxen are so numerous, that the Inhabitants are not able to master them; therefore they loose their Dogs upon them, and by hunting 'em take many, of which they eat some fresh, and others they salt up.

Many other Beasts they kill with these masty Dogs, and by this Means live upon Flesh. The Nations that lye furthest South live the Lives of Beasts under the Shapes of Men.

But it yet remains to speak of two other Nations; the Ethiopians and the Troglodites: But of the Ethiopians mention is made elsewhere, and therefore now we shall treat of the Troglodites. The Grecians call them Nomades, for they live Pastoral Lives in the Manner of Shepherds; and are divided into Tribes under a Monarchical Government, and enjoy their Wives and Children in common, except only the Wife of the King; yet if any of them happen to lye with her, he's only fin'd by the King in a certain Number of Sheep.

When the Etesian Winds blow (at which time there falls abundance of Rain) they feed upon Milk and Blood mingl'd together, and boil'd for a little time. Afterwards when the Pastures are burnt up with the scorching Heat of the Sun, they fly into the low Marishes, where they often fight one with another for convenient Pastures for their Flocks: Those Cattle that grow old or are sick, they knock on the Head, and eat them; and from these always they have their Food and Sustenance: And therefore they never call any Father and Mother, but only a Bull, an Ox, a Goat or a Sheep, of which they call the Males Fathers, and the Females Mothers, because they have their daily Food from these and not from their Parents. Their ordinary Drink is a Liquor strain'd out of the Plant call'd Paliurus: But the Drink or the Noblemen and Persons of Quality, is made of the Juice of a Flower no better than the worst of our Wines. Because of their Cattle they often shift and remove from one Pasture to another, and are very cautious and careful not to stay long in one Place.

Their whole Bodies are naked, except about their Loyns, which they cover with Beasts Skins. All the Troglodites are circumcis'd like the Egyptians, except those who by reason of some Accident are call'd Cripples; for these only, of all those that inhabit these Streights, have from their Intancy that Member (which in others is only circumcis'd) wholly cut off with a Razor. Among the Troglodites those call'd Megabareans for Arms bear round Shields made of Ox raw Hides, and Clubs bound round with Iron at the thick ends; the rest are arm'd with Bows and Spears.

When they are dead they tye them Neck and Heels with the Twigs and Branches of the Plant Paliurus; then they carry the Body to the Top of a Hill, where with great Sport and Laughter they pelt it with Stones till it be covered over; and then they stick up a Goats Horn upon the Heap, and so leave it without the least Sense of Pity or Compassion. They fight not one with another out of any Spleen or Rage one against another, like the Grecians, but meerly for their

Bibliotheca Historica

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