Odysseus arrived to the land of the Lotos-eaters (Lotophagi) after he sailed from Cythera (Il. 9.84). The Lotos-eaters were a peaceful and hospitable people, that should be placed on the Libyan coast.
(Lotophagoi--i. e. lotus-eaters). Homer, in the Odyssey, represents Odysseus as coming in his wanderings to a coast inhabited by a people who fed upon a fruit called lotus, the taste of which was so delicious that every one who ate it lost all wish to return to his native country. Afterwards, in historical times, the Greeks found that the people on the north coast of Africa, between the Syrtes, used to a great extent, as an article of food, the fruit of a plant which they identified with the lotus of Homer, and they called these people Lotophagi. They carried on a commercial intercourse with Egypt and with the interior of Africa by the very same car Lotus Capital. (Goodyear.) avan routes which are used to the present day. The legend in the Odyssey suggested Tennyson's exquisite poem, The Lotus Eaters.
This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Nov 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Lotophagi (Lotophagoi, i. e. lotus-eaters), a people on the N. coast
of Africa, between the Syrtes, who first appear in mythical, but afterwards in
historical geography. Homer (Od. ix. 84, et seqq.) represents Ulysses as coming,
in his wanderings, to the coast of the Lotophagi, who compassed the destruction
of his companions by giving them the lotus to eat. For whoever of them ate the
sweet fruit of the lotus, lost all wish to return to his native country, but desired
to remain there with the Lotophagi, feeding on the lotus, and forgetful of return.
(The poetical idea is exquisitely wrought out by Tennyson in his Lotos-Eaters,
works, vol. i. pp. 175-184.) The Greeks of the historical period identified the
country of these Lotus-eaters with the coast between the Syrtes, where they found
an indigenous tribe, who used to a great extent (Herodotus says, as their sole
article of food) the fruit of a plant, which they therefore supposed to be the
lotus of Homer. To this day, the aboriginal inhabitants who live in caves along
the same coasts eat the fruit of the plant, which is doubtless the lotus of the
ancients, and drink a wine made from its juice, as the ancient Lotophagi also
did (Herod. iv. 177). This plant, the Zizyphus Lotus or Rhkamnus Lotus (jujube
tree) of the botanists (called by the Arabs Seedra), is a prickly branching shrub,
bearing fruit of the size of a wild plum, of a saffron colour and sweetish taste
(Herodotus likens its taste to that of the date). It must not be confounded with
the celebrated Egyptian lotus, or water-lily of the Nile, which was also used
for food. (There were, in fact, several plants of the name, which are carefully
distinguished by Liddell and and Scott, Gr. Lex. s. v.)
The ancient geographers differ as to the extent of coast which they assign to the Lotophagi. Their chief seat was around the Lesser Syrtis, and eastward indefinitely towards the Great Syrtis; but Mela carries them into Cyrenaica. They are also placed in the large island of Meninx or Lotophagitis, E. of the Lesser Syrtis. (Horn. Herod. ll. cc.; Xen. Anab. iii. 2. 25; Scylax. p. 47; Mela, i. 7. § 5; Plin. v. 4. s. 4; Sil. iii. 310; Hygin. Fab. 125; Shaw; Della Cella; Barth; Heeren, Ideen, vol. ii. pt. 1. p. 54; Ritter, Erdkunde, vol i. p. 989.)
This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks
Lotuseaters : Perseus Encyclopedia
Lotuseaters : Various WebPages
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