At intervals of about ten days' journey along this ridge there are masses of great lumps of salt in hills; on the top of every hill, a fountain of cold sweet water shoots up from the midst of the salt; men live around it who are farthest away toward the desert and inland from the wild beasts' country. The first on the journey from Thebes
, ten days distant from there, are the Ammonians, who follow the worship of the Zeus of Thebes
; for, as I have said before, the image of Zeus at Thebes
has the head of a ram.
They have another spring of water besides, which is warm at dawn, and colder at market-time, and very cold at noon;
and it is then that they water their gardens; as the day declines, the coldness abates, until at sunset the water grows warm. It becomes ever hotter and hotter until midnight, and then it boils and bubbles; after midnight it becomes ever cooler until dawn. This spring is called the Spring of the Sun.
At a distance of ten days' journey again from the Ammonians along the sandy ridge, there is a hill of salt like that of the Ammonians, and springs of water, where men live; this place is called Augila; it is to this that the Nasamones come to gather palm-fruit.
After ten days' journey again from Augila there is yet another hill of salt and springs of water and many fruit-bearing palms, as at the other places; men live there called Garamantes, an exceedingly great nation, who sow in earth which they have laid on the salt.
The shortest way to the Lotus Eaters' country is from here, thirty days' journey distant. Among the Garamantes are the cattle that go backward as they graze, the reason being that their horns curve forward;
therefore, not being able to go forward, since the horns would stick in the ground, they walk backward grazing. Otherwise, they are like other cattle, except that their hide is thicker and harder to the touch.
These Garamantes go in their four-horse chariots chasing the cave-dwelling Ethiopians: for the Ethiopian cave-dwellers are swifter of foot than any men of whom tales are brought to us. They live on snakes and lizards and such-like creeping things. Their speech is like no other in the world: it is like the squeaking of bats.
Another ten days' journey from the Garamantes there is again a salt hill and water, where men live called Atarantes. These are the only men whom we know who have no names; for the whole people are called Atarantes, but no man has a name of his own.
When the sun is high, they curse and very foully revile him, because his burning heat afflicts their people and their land.
After another ten days' journey there is again a hill of salt, and water, and men living there. Near to this salt is a mountain called Atlas, whose shape is slender and conical; and it is said to be so high that its heights cannot be seen, for clouds are always on them winter and summer. The people of the country call it the pillar of heaven.
These men get their name, which is Atlantes, from this mountain. It is said that they eat no living creature, and see no dreams in their sleep.
I know and can tell the names of all the peoples that live on the ridge as far as the Atlantes, but no farther than that. But I know this, that the ridge reaches as far as the Pillars of Heracles and beyond them.
There is a mine of salt on it every ten days' journey, and men live there. Their houses are all built of blocks of the salt; for these are parts of Libya where no rain falls; for the walls, being of salt, could not stand firm if there were rain.
The salt there is both white and purple. Beyond this ridge, the southern and inland parts of Libya are desolate and waterless: there are no wild beasts, no rain, no forests; this region is wholly without moisture.
Thus from Egypt to the Tritonian lake, the Libyans are nomads that eat meat and drink milk; for the same reason as the Egyptians too profess, they will not touch the flesh of cows; and they rear no swine.