Page:Africa (Volume I).djvu/17

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THE EARTH AND ITS INHABITANTS.


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NORTH-EAST AFRICA.




CHAPTER I.


GENERAL SURVEY.


F

ROM the very name of Africa, it is evident that down to a comparatively recent period this continent still formed part of the unknown world. It was the Libya of the Greeks, a region of undefined limits towards the south and the setting sun. Amongst other mythological or poetic titles, they also gave it the vague designations of Eskhate, or "The World's End," and Hesperia, or "Western Land," a term which was also applied to Italy, and then to Spain, and which, under the Arab form of Maghreb, has become the modern name of Mauritania. The term Africa itself, now applied to the whole continent, is of doubtful origin. Whether it designated the ancient Carthage in the sense of the "Separated," or "Colony," recalling the supremacy of the Phoenician Tyre, or whether it was a collective name of the Berbers, or only of a single tribe, that of the Auraghen or Aurigha, are questions that cannot now be solved. In any case Africa, already so named by Ennius before the second Punic war, was for the Romans at first nothing more than the Libyan neighbour of Italy, the Tunisian Tell still called Friga, a name which became gradually extended to the whole continent, just as the Asia of the Cayster Valley ultimately embraced India, Siberia, and China.

As now surveyed around its entire seaboard, Africa stands out as the best-defined division of the Old World—a vast island, attached only by a narrow isthmus,

 1—AF.