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describes them, not only as the most distant of the human
“ The sire of gods and all th' ethereal train,
Returning with the twelfth revolving light.*-"Pope.
But it must not be concealed that considerable ambiguity attaches to the term Ethiopian; because it was applied by all classes of writers among the Greeks, not so much to denote a country bounded by certain geographical limits, as to describe the complexion of the inhabitants, whatever might be their position with respect to other nations. It will not seem strange, therefore, that we find Ethiopians scattered over a considerable part of the ancient world. Africa, no doubt, contained the greater portion of them; but it is equally true that a large tract of Asia was occupied by a race who bore the same designation; and as India was often made to comprise the southern division of the former continent, so, in like manner, Ethiopia was frequently
* Ζευς γαρ επ' ωκεανον μετ' αμυμονας Αιθιοπηας.-Lib. i. ν. 123. | Heeren's Historical Researches, vol. i. p. 294.
described as including Southern India. Homer, who seems to have collected all the fragments of historical and geographical knowledge which were scattered among the learned of his age, recognises the distinction now explained, and speaks of the Ethiopians as extending from the rising to the setting of the sun.
“But now the god, remote a heavenly guest
In Ethiopia, graced the genial feast
The ancient historians were wont to divide the Africans into two great classes, the Libyans and the Ethiopians; to whom Herodotus adds the Greeks and Phenicians, who as settlers occupied the northern coasts. This division was generally followed by succeeding writers, although with little accuracy in the use of names; and while we admit that there might be no real difference in the lineage of the two principal families now pointed out, it is at least manifest that they presented to the eye of the Grecian geographers such peculiarities, especially in the colour of the skin, as seemed to justify the discrimination which we find established in their works. But it is obvious, at the same time, that there was a greater affinity between the Ethiopians on the eastern shores of the Arabian Gulf and those on the African side, than between these last and the other swarthy tribes in the interior of Libya. Herodotus, indeed, observes that the Asiatics have straight hair, while such as dwell above Egypt have it very much curled. It is certain, however, that all the black inhabitants of Africa do not display this quality; for many of the natives of the Upper Nile, though their skins are of a very dark hue, have hair resembling that of Europeans, being neither curled nor woolly.
The father of history mentions a circumstance which is not less true at the present time than it was at the remote period in which he lived. He relates that, in the extensive district which stretches from the first cataract to Sennaar, * Αιθιοπας, του διχθα δεδαιαται, έσχατοι ανδρών
“Οι μεν δυσομένου υπερίονος, οι δ' ανίωντος,-Odyss., lib. v. 23.
there were two different classes of inhabitants, very easily distinguished from each other. The one, described by him as aboriginal, he includes under the general appellation of Ethiopians; while the other, which appeared to have sprung from an Arabian race, must have removed into the country at an early epoch, where they continued, even in his day, to follow a wandering mode of life. That such was the case under the Persian government is evident from what we are told respecting the army of Xerxes, whom they must have attended in his expedition into Greece. The Arabians and Ethiopians are associated by the historian under one leader. “Arsanes, son of Darius by Artystone a daughter of Cyrus, commanded the Arabians and the Ethiopians who came from beyond Egypt."* In later times the Arabs seem to have possessed a still larger portion of Nubia, and to have occupied the banks of the Nile from Philæ to the neighbourhood of Meroë; a fact which is confirmed by Pliny, on the authority of Juba, the Numidian king, who wrote a work on the geography of Africa. +
It would now be extremely difficult to draw a precise line of distinction between the original tribes and those whose lineage might perhaps be traced to the Arabian immigrants. The latter have not only dwelt in the land more than two thousand years, and mingled freely with the older stock, but their language also has been so generally adopted by the natives, that it can no longer be employed as a decisive characteristic. Heeren is, however, of opinion that all who do not speak Arabic must be aboriginal, as he considers it very improbable that the Asiatic settlers would exchange their more improved tongue for the rude dialect of barbarous hordes, to whom, in all respects, they would naturally consider themselves superior. But no one, who views all the difficulties of the case, will maintain that, after the lapse of twenty-three centuries, the line of descent can be otherwise marked than by those physiological qualities in feature and form which neither length of time nor the most intimate mixture can altogether obliterate.
From the discoveries made by recent travellers in the western parts of Africa, it is no longer doubtful that there
* Herodotus, book vii. c. 69.
| Heeren, vol. i. p. 306.
has existed in it, from very ancient times, a numerous people who are neither Moors nor negroes. Hornemann and Lyon have made us acquainted with two nations in that quarter, who appear to have possessed all the vast range of country which stretches from the shores of the Mediterranean to the banks of the Joliba. They are indeed divided into many tribes; but all speak the same language which is entirely different from the Arabic, and is found, in fact, to be no other than that which is used by the rbers in the Atlas Mountains. With regard to their colour, though it certainly is not uniform, the difference seems to depend in a great measure on the place of abode and the manner of living; and, properly speaking, it amounts to nothing more than a mere variation of tint, which is lighter or darker according to circumstances. The western portion of this race are white, as far as the climate and their habits will allow it. Others are of a yellow cast, like the Arabs ; some are swarthy ; and in the neighbourhood of Soudan there is a tribe which is said to be completely black. Their lineaments, however, do not at all resemble those of the negro. They are slimly made, and rather tall. Commerce is their principal occupation, which they carry on between the interior and the countries bordering on the northern coast. Their moral character has been favourably estimated; and it is thought that, if their talents were duly cultivated, they would probably become one of the first nations in the world.*
The account of Hornemann is confirmed by Captain Lyon, who asserts that the Tuaricks, one of the tribes here alluded to, are the finest race of men he ever saw; tall, straight, and handsome, with a certain air of independence which is very imposing. They are generally white; the dark-brown of their complexion being only occasioned by the heat of the climate. Their weapons are a long sword and a dagger, without which no one is ever seen abroad, and an elegant spear highly ornamented and sometimes made entirely of iron. Their language has been already described as the Berber, which they maintain to be very ancient, and is still spoken extensively in Western Africa.
The Tibboos are a different people from that now described, in appearance, manner of living, and even in language. Their colour is a bright black; but their features partake not in the smallest degree of the negro character. They have aquiline noses, fine teeth, and lips formed like those of Europeans. In the language of Herodotus, however, they would be included among Ethiops; having the dark skin, which, in his estimation, formed the distinguishing mark of all the nations to whom he applied that term.
* Hornemann, p. 129.
It is probable that the Nubians, those at least who do not boast an oriental extraction, are of the same race with the ancient Berbers, the progenitors of the Tuaricks, and perhaps of the Tibboos. They were not known by their present name till the era of the Grecian kings of Egypt. It is first mentioned by Eratosthenes; and soon afterward came into common use, both as a general denomination for all the tribes dwelling on the banks of the Nile from Es Souan to Meroë, and also in a more limited sense for the inhabitants of the modern Dongola. Their language, of which Burckhardt has given us some specimens, is quite different from the Arabic ; and in this, as well as in their external appearance, they present an affinity to the natives of the Arabian peninsula. They are of a dark-brown colour, with hair somewhat curled, either by nature or art, but not at all woolly. Their visage has no resemblance to the negro physiognomy. The men are well formed, strong and muscular, with fine countenances. They are very thinly clad; but are all armed with a spear five feet long, a dagger, and a large shield made of the skin of the hippopot
In ascending the Nile we meet with several other tribes, who, it is very probable, either belong to the Nubian race, or derive their descent from a common origin. They possess good forms and features, manifest a warlike disposition, and carry into the field of battle the same kind of weapons which were used by their remote ancestors. They commonly fight on horseback, and are armed with a double-pointed spear, a sword, and a large buckler. Hence the fine passage in the book of Jeremiah: “Come up, ye horses ; and rage, ye chariots ; and let the mighty men
* Burckhardt's Travels in Nubia, p. 144. Waddington and Hanbury, Travels in Ethiopia, p. 59.