Thursday, 7 November 2019

Men of Bats

“…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.”

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