Sunday, February 26, 2012

Aethiopia

Aethiopia (Greek Αἰθιοπία) first appears as a geographical term in classical sources, in reference to the Upper Nile region, as well as all the regions south of the Sahara desert. Its earliest mention is in the works of Homer: twice in the Iliad, and three times in the Odyssey. The Greek historian Herodotus specifically uses it to describe Sub-Saharan Africa. As stated by Lobban, "Greeks referred to Nubia as "Ethiopia," including sometimes parts of "Libya Interior." " The name also features in Greek mythology, where it is sometimes associated with a kingdom said to be seated at Joppa, or elsewhere in Asia.

Various Greek myths make reference to the kingdom of "Aethiopia" said to be somewhere in Asia. This kingdom in the myth of Andromeda was placed at Joppa in Phoenicia. Stephanus of Byzantium (c. AD 500) asserted that the name of Joppa (Yoppa) itself was a contraction of "Aethiopia", and that in antiquity its rule had extended eastward as far as Babylonia.

Cepheus and Cassiopeia, the parents of Andromeda, are presented as the king and queen of Joppa. Pliny the Elder observed a tradition that associated a rock off the coast of Joppa with the mythical rock where Andromeda had been chained. However, the Argonautica says Perseus' "return flight" took him "above the sands of Libya [Africa]".

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