Herodotus (Ἡρόδοτος) (c. 484–425 B.C.) was a Greek historian and geographer, who lived in the V century B.C. He is known as "the Father of History"; he was the first to collect materials systematically and place events in a historiographic context. However, he often fails to distinguish facts and myth and aside from people who praised him, there were also ones accusing him of spreading lies.


The Histories 4,190Edit

Greek originalEdit

τὸ δὲ πρὸς ἑσπέρης τοῦ Τρίτωνος ποταμοῦ Αὐσέων ἔχονται ἀροτῆρες ἤδη Λίβυες καὶ οἰκίας νομίζοντες ἐκτῆσθαι, τοῖσι οὔνομα κέεται Μάξυες. οἳ τὰ ἐπὶ δεξιὰ τῶν κεφαλέων κομόωσι, τὰ δ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἀριστερὰ κείρουσι, τὸ δὲ σῶμα χρίονται μίλτῳ. φασὶ δὲ οὗτοι εἶναι τῶν ἐκ Τροίης ἀνδρῶν. ἡ δὲ χώρη αὕτη τε καὶ ἡ λοιπὴ τῆς Λιβύης ἡ πρὸς ἑσπέρην πολλῷ θηριωδεστέρη τε καὶ δασυτέρη ἐστὶ τῆς τῶν νομάδων χώρης. ἡ μὲν γὰρ δὴ πρὸς τὴν ἠῶ τῆς Λιβύης, τὴν οἱ νομάδες νέμουσι, ἐστὶ ταπεινή τε καὶ ψαμμώδης μέχρι τοῦ Τρίτωνος ποταμοῦ, ἡ δὲ ἀπὸ τούτου τὸ πρὸς ἑσπέρην ἡ τῶν ἀροτήρων ὀρεινή τε κάρτα καὶ δασέα καὶ θηριώδης· καὶ γὰρ οἱ ὄφιες οἱ ὑπερμεγάθεες καὶ οἱ λέοντες κατὰ τούτους εἰσὶ καὶ οἱ ἐλέφαντές τε καὶ ἄρκτοι καὶ ἀσπίδες τε καὶ ὄνοι οἱ τὰ κέρεα ἔχοντες καὶ οἱ κυνοκέφαλοι καὶ οἱ ἀκέφαλοι οἱ ἐν τοῖσι στήθεσι τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντες, ὡς δὴ λέγονταί γε ὑπὸ Λιβύων, καὶ οἱ ἄγριοι ἄνδρες καὶ γυναῖκες ἄγριαι, καὶ ἄλλα πλήθεϊ πολλὰ θηρία ἀκατάψευστα.

English translation (G. C. Macaulay, 1890)Edit

On the West of the river Triton next after the Auseans come Libyans who are tillers of the soil, and whose custom it is to possess fixed habitations; and they are called Maxyans. They grow their hair long on the right side of their heads and cut it short upon the left, and smear their bodies over with red ochre. These say that they are of the men who came from Troy. This country and the rest of Libya which is towards the West is both much more frequented by wild beasts and much more thickly wooded than the country of the nomads: for whereas the part of Libya which is situated towards the East, where the nomads dwell, is low-lying and sandy up to the river Triton, that which succeeds it towards the West, the country of those who till the soil, is exceedingly mountainous and thickly-wooded and full of wild beasts: for in the land of these are found both the monstrous serpent and the lion and the elephant, and bears and venomous snakes and horned asses, besides the dog-headed men, and the headless men with their eyes set in their breasts (at least so say the Libyans about them), and the wild men and wild women, and a great multitude of other beasts which are not fabulous like these.


Herodotus writes about asses with horns living in Africa. This account is frequently connected with Ctesias's single-horned Indian ass, although Herodotus himself does not make assertion about only one horn; on the contrary his use of the plural number (κέρεα in Ionic dialect) seems to suggest otherwise. The simplest explanation is that he is describing common antelopes.