third: he with a sharp stone makes a cut on the inside of the hand of each near the middlefinger, and, taking a piece from their dress, dips it in the blood of each, and moistens therewithseven stones lying in the midst, calling the while on Bacchus and Urania. After this, the manwho makes the pledge commends the stranger (or the citizen, if citizen he be) to all his friends,and they deem themselves bound to stand to the engagement. They have but these two gods,to wit, Bacchus and Urania; and they say that in their mode of cutting the hair, they followBacchus. Now their practice is to cut it in a ring, away from the temples. Bacchus they call intheir language Orotal, and Urania, Alilat. . . .There is a great river in Arabia, called the Corys,which empties itself into the Erythraean sea. The Arabian king, they say, made a pipe of theskins of oxen and other beasts, reaching from this river all the way to the desert, and so broughtthe water to certain cisterns which he had dug in the desert to receive it. It is a twelve days' journey from the river to this desert tract. And the water, they say, was brought through threedifferent pipes to three separate places. . . .The Arabs brought every year a thousand talents offrankincense. . . .Arabia is the last of inhabited lands towards the south, and it is the only country which producesfrankincense, myrrh, cassia, cinnamon, and laudanum. The Arabians do not get any of these,except the myrrh, without trouble. The frankincense they procure by means of the gum styrax,which the Greeks obtain from the Phoenicians; this they burn, and thereby obtain the spice. Forthe trees which bear the frankincense are guarded by winged serpents, small in size, and ofvaried colors, whereof vast numbers hang about every tree. They are of the same kind as theserpents that invade Egypt; and there is nothing but the smoke of the styrax which will drivethem from the trees. The Arabians say that the whole world would swarm with these serpents, ifthey were not kept in check in the way in which I know that vipers Such, then, is the way inwhich the Arabians obtain their frankincense; their manner of collecting the cassia is thefollowing: They cover all their body and their face with the hides of oxen and other skins, leavingonly holes for the eyes, and thus protected go in search of the cassia, which grows in a lake ofno great depth. All round the shores and in the lake itself there dwell a number of wingedanimals, much resembling bats, which screech horribly, and are very valiant. These creaturesthey must keep from their eyes all the while that they gather the cassia.Still more wonderful is the mode in which they collect the cinnamon. Where the wood grows,and what country produces it, they cannot tell---only some, following probability, relate that itcomes from the country in which Bacchus was brought up. Great birds, they say, bring the stickswhich we Greeks, taking the word from the Phoenicians, call cinnamon, and carry them up intothe air to make their nests. These are fastened with a sort of mud to a sheer face of rock, whereno foot of man is able to climb. So the Arabians, to get the cinnamon, use the following artifice.They cut all the oxen and asses and beasts of burthen that die in their land into large pieces,which they carry with them into those regions, and Place near the nests: then they withdraw to adistance, and the old birds, swooping down, seize the pieces of meat and fly with them up totheir nests; which, not being able to support the weight, break off and fall to the ground.Hereupon the Arabians return and collect the cinnamon, which is afterwards carried from Arabiainto other countries.Concerning the spices of Arabia let no more be said. The whole country is scented with them,and exhales an odor marvelously sweet. There are also in Arabia two kinds of sheep worthy ofadmiration, the like of which is nowhere else to be seen; the one kind has long tails, not lessthan three cubits in length, which, if they were allowed to trail on the ground, would be bruisedand fall into sores. As it is, all the shepherds know enough of carpentering to make little trucksfor their sheep's tails. The trucks are placed under the tails, each sheep having one to himself,and the tails are then tied down upon them. The other kind has a broad tail, which is a cubitacross sometimes. are. . . .The Arabians wore the zeira, or long cloak, fastened about them witha girdle; and carried at their right side long bows, which when unstrung bent backwards.
Geography Book XVI, Chap. iv, 1-4, 18-19, 21-26c. 22 CEBook XVI.iv.1: Arabia commences on the side of Babylonia with Maecene [modern Kuwait]. In
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