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On the Physical Characters of the Egyptians

Researches into the Physical History of Man (London: Arch, 1813), pp. 376-388


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377

The Greek writers always mention the Egyptians as being black in their complexions. In the Supplices of Aeschylus, when the Egyptian ship is described as approaching the land, and seen from an eminence on the shore, it is said,

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y.%Ot61 AEUxWY Ex 7rEW'AW1.4, TWV t7Et Y."

" The sailors too I marked

" Conspicuous in white robes their sable limbs,

and again,

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FtE%M10x11h 6'1\Y Sp CGTO3.

Herodotus, who was well acquainted with the Egyptians, mentions the blackness of their complexion more than once. After relating the fable of the foundation of the Dodona'an oracle by a black dove which had fled from Thebes in Egypt and uttered her prophecies from the beach tree at Dodona, he adds his conjecture of the true meaning of the tale. He supposes the oracle to have been instituted by a female captive from the Thebaid, who was enigmatically described as a bird, and subjoins, that " by representing the bird as black they marked that the woman was an Egyptian." (a)

Also in his account of the Colchians, Herododotus supports his opinion, that they were a

(a) Herod. lib. 2.



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