1.163.1Phocaea was the first Ionian town that he attacked. These Phocaeans were the earliest of the Greeks to make long sea-voyages, and it was they who discovered the Adriatic Sea, and Tyrrhenia, and Iberia, and Tartessus, 2not sailing in round freightships but in fifty-oared vessels. When they came to Tartessus they made friends with the king of the Tartessians, whose name was Arganthonius; he ruled Tartessus for eighty years and lived a hundred and twenty. 3The Phocaeans won this man's friendship to such a degree that he invited them to leave Ionia and settle in his country wherever they liked; and then, when he could not persuade them to, and learned from them how the Median power was increasing, he gave them money to build a wall around their city. 4He gave it generously: for the circuit of the wall is of not a few stades, and all this is made of great stones well fitted together.
2.32.1But I heard this from some men of Cyrene, who told me that they had gone to the oracle of Ammon, and conversed there with Etearchus king of the Ammonians, and that from other subjects the conversation turned to the Nile, how no one knows the source of it. Then Etearchus told them that once he had been visited by some Nasamonians. 2These are a Libyan people, inhabiting the country of the Syrtis and a little way to the east of the Syrtis. 3When these Nasamonians were asked on their arrival if they brought any news concerning the Libyan desert, they told Etearchus that some sons of their leading men, proud and violent youths, when they came to manhood, besides planning other wild adventures, had chosen by lot five of their company to visit the deserts of Libya and see whether they could see any farther than those who had seen the farthest. 4It must be known that the whole northern seacoast of Libya, from Egypt as far as the promontory of Soloeis, which is the end of Libya, is inhabited throughout its length by Libyans, many tribes of them, except the part held by Greeks and Phoenicians; the region of Libya that is above the sea and the inhabitants of the coast is infested by wild beasts; and farther inland than the wild-beast country everything is sand, waterless and desolate. 5When the young men left their companions, being well supplied with water and provisions, they journeyed first through the inhabited country, and after passing this they came to the region of wild beasts. 6After this, they travelled over the desert, towards the west, and crossed a wide sandy region, until after many days they saw trees growing in a plain; when they came to these and were picking the fruit of the trees, they were met by little men of less than common stature, who took them and led them away. The Nasamonians did not know these men's language nor did the escort know the language of the Nasamonians. 7The men led them across great marshes, after crossing which they came to a city where all the people were of a stature like that of the guides, and black. A great river ran past this city, from the west towards the rising sun; crocodiles could be seen in it.
33.1This is enough of the story told by Etearchus the Ammonian; except he said that the Nasamonians returned, as the men of Cyrene told me, and that the people to whose country they came were all wizards; 2as to the river that ran past the city, Etearchus guessed it to be the Nile; and reason proves as much. For the Nile flows from Libya, right through the middle of it; and as I guess, reasoning about things unknown from visible signs, it rises proportionally as far away as does the Ister. 3For the Ister flows from the land of the Celts and the city of Pyrene through the very middle of Europe; now the Celts live beyond the Pillars of Heracles, being neighbors of the Cynesii, who are the westernmost of all the peoples inhabiting Europe. 4The Ister, then, flows clean across Europe and ends its course in the Euxine sea, at Istria, which is inhabited by Milesian colonists.
102.1Leaving the latter aside, then, I shall speak of the king who came after them, whose name was Sesostris. 3This king, the priests said, set out with a fleet of long ships45 from the Arabian Gulf and subjugated all those living by the Red Sea, until he came to a sea which was too shallow for his vessels. 3After returning from there back to Egypt, he gathered a great army (according to the account of the priests) and marched over the mainland, subjugating every nation to which he came. 4When those that he met were valiant men and strove hard for freedom, he set up pillars in their land, the inscription on which showed his own name and his country's, and how he had overcome them with his own power; 5but when the cities had made no resistance and been easily taken, then he put an inscription on the pillars just as he had done where the nations were brave; but he also drew on them the private parts of a woman, wishing to show clearly that the people were cowardly.
103.1He marched over the country doing this until he had crossed over from Asia to Europe and defeated the Scythians and Thracians. Thus far and no farther, I think, the Egyptian army went; for the pillars can be seen standing in their country, but in none beyond it. 2From there, he turned around and went back home; and when he came to the Phasis river, that King, Sesostris, may have detached some part of his army and left it there to live in the country (for I cannot speak with exact knowledge), or it may be that some of his soldiers grew weary of his wanderings, and stayed by the Phasis.
104.1For it is plain to see that the Colchians are Egyptians; and what I say, I myself noted before I heard it from others. When it occurred to me, I inquired of both peoples; and the Colchians remembered the Egyptians better than the Egyptians remembered the Colchians; 2the Egyptians said that they considered the Colchians part of Sesostris' army. I myself guessed it, partly because they are dark-skinned and woolly-haired; though that indeed counts for nothing, since other peoples are, too; but my better proof was that the Colchians and Egyptians and Ethiopians are the only nations that have from the first practised circumcision. 3The Phoenicians and the Syrians of Palestine acknowledge that they learned the custom from the Egyptians, and the Syrians of the valleys of the Thermodon and the Parthenius, as well as their neighbors the Macrones, say that they learned it lately from the Colchians. These are the only nations that circumcise, and it is seen that they do just as the Egyptians. 4But as to the Egyptians and Ethiopians themselves, I cannot say which nation learned it from the other; for it is evidently a very ancient custom. That the others learned it through traffic with Egypt, I consider clearly proved by this: that Phoenicians who traffic with Hellas cease to imitate the Egyptians in this matter and do not circumcise their children.
105.1Listen to something else about the Colchians, in which they are like the Egyptians: they and the Egyptians alone work linen and have the same way of working it, a way peculiar to themselves; and they are alike in all their way of life, and in their speech. Linen has two names: the Colchian kind is called by the Greeks Sardonian; that which comes from Egypt is called Egyptian.
106.1As to the pillars that Sesostris, king of Egypt, set up in the countries, most of them are no longer to be seen. But I myself saw them in the Palestine district of Syria, with the aforesaid writing and the women's private parts on them. 2Also, there are in Ionia two figures of this man carved in rock, one on the road from Ephesus to Phocaea, and the other on that from Sardis to Smyrna. 3In both places, the figure is over twenty feet high, with a spear in his right hand and a bow in his left, and the rest of his equipment proportional; for it is both Egyptian and Ethiopian; 4and right across the breast from one shoulder to the other a text is cut in the Egyptian sacred characters, saying: "I myself won this land with the strength of my shoulders." There is nothing here to show who he is and whence he comes, but it is shown elsewhere. 5Some of those who have seen these figures guess they are Memnon, but they are far indeed from the truth.
4.42.1I wonder, then, at those who have mapped out and divided the world into Libya, Asia, and Europe; for the difference between them is great, seeing that in length Europe stretches along both the others together, and it appears to me to be wider beyond all comparison. 2For Libya shows clearly that it is bounded by the sea, except where it borders on Asia. Necos king of Egypt first discovered this and made it known. When he had finished digging the canal which leads from the Nile to the Arabian Gulf, he sent Phoenicians in ships, instructing them to sail on their return voyage past the Pillars of Heracles until they came into the northern sea and so to Egypt. 3So the Phoenicians set out from the Red Sea and sailed the southern sea; whenever autumn came they would put in and plant the land in whatever part of Libya they had reached, and there await the harvest; 4then, having gathered the crop, they sailed on, so that after two years had passed, it was in the third that they rounded the pillars of Heracles and came to Egypt. There they said (what some may believe, though I do not) that in sailing around Libya they had the sun on their right hand.
43.1Thus was the first knowledge of Libya gained. The next story is that of the Carthaginians: for as for Sataspes son of Teaspes, an Achaemenid, he did not sail around Libya, although he was sent for that purpose; but he feared the length and loneliness of the voyage and so returned without accomplishing the task laid upon him by his mother. 2For he had raped the virgin daughter of Zopyrus son of Megabyzus; and when on this charge he was to be impaled by King Xerxes, Sataspes' mother, who was Darius' sister, interceded for his life, saying that she would impose a heavier punishment on him than Xerxes; 3for he would be compelled to sail around Libya, until he completed his voyage and came to the Arabian Gulf. Xerxes agreed to this, and Sataspes went to Egypt where he received a ship and a crew from the Egyptians, and sailed past the Pillars of Heracles. 4Having sailed out beyond them, and rounded the Libyan promontory called Solois, he sailed south; but when he had been many months sailing over the sea, and always more before him, he turned back and made sail for Egypt. 5Coming to King Xerxes from there, he related in his narrative that, when he was farthest distant, he sailed by a country of little men, who wore palm-leaf clothing; these, whenever he and his men put in to land with their ship, left their towns and fled to the hills; he and his men did no harm when they landed, and took nothing from the people except cattle. 6As to his not sailing completely around Libya, the reason (he said) was that the ship could move no farther, but was stopped. But Xerxes did not believe that Sataspes spoke the truth, and, as the task appointed was unfulfilled, he impaled him, punishing him on the charge first brought against him. 7This Sataspes had a eunuch, who as soon as he heard of his master's death escaped to Samos, with a great hoard of wealth, of which a man of Samos got possession. I know the man's name but deliberately omit it.
151.1For seven years after this there was no rain in Thera; all the trees in the island except one withered. The Theraeans inquired at Delphi again, and the priestess mentioned the colony they should send to Libya. 2So, since there was no remedy for their ills, they sent messengers to Crete to find any Cretan or traveller there who had travelled to Libya. In their travels about the island, these came to the town of Itanus, where they met a murex fisherman named Corobius, who told them that he had once been driven off course by winds to Libya, to an island there called Platea. 3They hired this man to come with them to Thera; from there, just a few men were sent aboard ship to spy out the land first; guided by Corobius to the aforesaid island Platea, these left him there with provision for some months, and themselves sailed back with all speed to Thera to bring news of the island.
152.1But after they had been away for longer than the agreed time, and Corobius had no provisions left, a Samian ship sailing for Egypt, whose captain was Colaeus, was driven off her course to Platea, where the Samians heard the whole story from Corobius and left him provisions for a year; 2they then put out to sea from the island and would have sailed to Egypt, but an easterly wind drove them from their course, and did not abate until they had passed through the Pillars of Heracles and came providentially to Tartessus. 3Now this was at that time an untapped market; hence, the Samians, of all the Greeks whom we know with certainty, brought back from it the greatest profit on their wares except Sostratus of Aegina, son of Laodamas; no one could compete with him. 4The Samians took six talents, a tenth of their profit, and made a bronze vessel with it, like an Argolic cauldron, with griffins' heads projecting from the rim all around; they set this up in their temple of Hera, supporting it with three colossal kneeling figures of bronze, each twelve feet high. 5What the Samians had done was the beginning of a close friendship between them and the men of Cyrene and Thera.
153.1As for the Theraeans, when they came to Thera after leaving Corobius on the island, they brought word that they had established a settlement on an island off Libya. The Theraeans determined to send out men from their seven regions, taking by lot one of every pair of brothers, and making Battus leader and king of all. Then they manned two fifty-oared ships and sent them to Platea.