Greek name: Ἀσβύσται

Latin Name:


Cultural Notes

Libyans; used four-horse chariots like the Cyrenians.

Geographical Notes

A Libyan tribe.  Lies inland from Cyrene, and does not come down to the sea

Citations in Herodotos

4.170; 4.170 next to Auschisae

Key Passages in English Translation

[4.170] The next people west of the Giligamae are the Asbystae, who live inland of Cyrene, not coming down to the coast, for that is Cyrenaean territory. These drive four-horse chariots to a greater extent than any other Libyans; it is their practice to imitate most of the Cyrenaean customs.

English translation by A. D. Godley. Cambridge. Harvard University Press. 1920. Retreived from <>

Key Passages in Greek

[4.170] Γιλιγαμέων δὲ ἔχονται τὸ πρὸς ἑσπέρης Ἀσβύσται. οὗτοι ὑπὲρ Κυρήνης οἰκέουσι. ἐπὶ θάλασσαν δὲ οὐ κατήκουσι Ἀσβύσται τὸ γὰρ παρὰ θάλασσαν Κυρηναῖοι νέμονται. τεθριπποβάται δὲ οὐκ ἥκιστα ἀλλὰ μάλιστα Λιβύων εἰσί, νόμους δὲ τοὺς πλεῦνας μιμέεσθαι ἐπιτηδεύουσι τοὺς Κυρηναίων.

Other Testimonia

Strabo, Geography (ed. H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A.): book 2, chapter 5

Pliny the Elder, The Natural History (ed. John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S., H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A.): book 5, chapter 5

Other Commentary

Perseus Encyclopedia: Asbystae, a tribe of Libya

W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotos: The Asbystae must be the περίοικοι of 161. 3 n.

Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) William Smith, LLD, Ed.: (Ἀσβύσται, Hdt. 4.170, 171; Lycophr. Alex. 895; Ἀσβῦται, Ptol. 4.4.10), a Libyan tribe, in the inland parts of Cyrenaica, S. of Cyrene, and W. of the Giligammae; distinguished above the other Libyan tribes for their skill in the use of four-horsed chariots. (Herod. l.c.) Dionysius Periegetes (211) names them next to the Nasamones, inland (μεσήπειροι). Pliny also places them next to the Nasamones, but apparently to the W. of them (5.5). Ptolemy's position for them, E. of the mountains overhanging the Gardens of the Hesperides, agrees well enough with that of Herodotos. Stephanus Byzantinus mentions a city of Libya, named Asbysta (Ἀσβύστα, Eth. Ἀσβύστης), and quotes the following line from Callimachus:

οἵη τε Τρίτωνος ἐφ᾽ ὕδασιν Ἀσβύσταο:--

where the mention of the Triton is not at all inconsistent with the position of the Asbystae, as deter-mined by the other writers ; for the Triton is frequently placed near the Gardens of the Hesperides, on the W. coast of Cyrenaica. [TRITON]


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