Auseës, Auseans



Greek Name: Αὐσέες

Latin Name: Auseës


Cultural Notes

Hair worn long in front. Celebrate the goddess Athena in a yearly festival in which are seperated into bands and made to fight one another. Sexually promiscuous; no cohabitation between men and women, but partenity of sons is determined once the boy is grown to manhood.

Geographical Notes

Africa (outside Egypt); live around lake Tritonis, river Triton forms a boundary between two rivers; lived across the River Triton from the Machlyes.

Citations in Herodotos

4.180 geographical and cultural information

Key Passages in English Translation

[4.180] Next to these Machlyes are the Auseans; these and the Machlyes, separated by the Triton, live on the shores of the Tritonian lake. The Machlyes wear their hair long behind, the Auseans in front. [2] They celebrate a yearly festival of Athena, where their maidens are separated into two bands and fight each other with stones and sticks, thus (they say) honoring in the way of their ancestors that native goddess whom we call Athena. Maidens who die of their wounds are called false virgins. [3] Before the girls are set fighting, the whole people choose the fairest maid, and arm her with a Corinthian helmet and Greek panoply, to be then mounted on a chariot and drawn all along the lake shore. [4] With what armor they equipped their maidens before Greeks came to live near them, I cannot say; but I suppose the armor was Egyptian; for I maintain that the Greeks took their shield and helmet from Egypt. [5] As for Athena, they say that she was daughter of Poseidon and the Tritonian lake, and that, being for some reason angry at her father, she gave herself to Zeus, who made her his own daughter. Such is their tale. The intercourse of men and women there is promiscuous; they do not cohabit but have intercourse like cattle. [6] When a woman's child is well grown, the men assemble within three months and the child is adjudged to be that man's whom it is most like.

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

Key Passages in Greek

[4.180] τούτων δὲ ἔχοντας τῶν Μαχλύων Αὐσέες: οὗτοι δὲ καὶ οἱ Μάχλυες πέριξ τὴν Τριτωνίδα λίμνην οἰκέουσι, τὸ μέσον δέ σφι οὐρίζει ὁ Τρίτων. καὶ οἱ μὲν Μάχλυες τὰ ὀπίσω κομῶσι τῆς κεφαλῆς, οἱ δὲ Αὐσέες τὰ ἔμπροσθε. [2] ὁρτῇ δὲ ἐνιαυσίῃ Ἀθηναίης αἱ παρθένοι αὐτῶν δίχα διαστᾶσαι μάχονται πρὸς ἀλλήλας λίθοισί τε καὶ ξύλοισι, τῷ αὐθιγενέι θεῷ λέγουσαι τὰ πάτρια ἀποτελέειν, τὴν Ἀθηναίην καλέομεν. τὰς δὲ ἀποθνησκούσας τῶν παρθένων ἐκ τῶν τρωμάτων ψευδοπαρθένους καλέουσι. [3] πρὶν δὲ ἀνεῖναι αὐτὰς μάχεσθαι, τάδε ποιεῦσι κοινῇ. παρθένον τὴν καλλιστεύουσαν ἑκάστοτε κοσμήσαντες κυνέῃ τε Κορινθίῃ καὶ πανοπλίῃ Ἑλληνικῇ καὶ ἐπ᾽ ἅρμα ἀναβιβάσαντες περιάγουσι τὴν λίμνην κύκλῳ. [4] ὁτέοισι δὲ τὸ πάλαι ἐκόσμεον τὰς παρθένους πρὶν ἤ σφι Ἕλληνας παροικισθῆναι, οὐκ ἔχω εἰπεῖν, δοκέω δ᾽ ὦν Αἰγυπτίοισι ὅπλοισι κοσμέεσθαι αὐτάς: ἀπὸ γὰρ Αἰγύπτου καὶ τὴν ἀσπίδα καὶ τὸ κράνος φημὶ ἀπῖχθαι ἐς τοὺς Ἕλληνας. [5] τὴν δὲ Ἀθηναίην φασὶ Ποσειδέωνος εἶναι θυγατέρα καὶ τῆς Τριτωνίδος λίμνης, καί μιν μεμφθεῖσάν τι τῷ πατρὶ δοῦναι ἑωυτὴν τῷ Διί, τὸν δὲ Δία ἑωυτοῦ μιν ποιήσασθαι θυγατέρα. ταῦτα μὲν λέγουσι, μῖξιν δὲ ἐπίκοινον τῶν γυναικῶν ποιέονται, οὔτε συνοικέοντες κτηνηδόν τε μισγόμενοι. [6] ἐπεὰν δὲ γυναικὶ τὸ παιδίον ἁδρὸν γένηται, συμφοιτῶσι ἐς τὠυτὸ οἱ ἄνδρες τρίτου μηνός, καὶ τῷ ἂν οἴκῃ τῶν ἀνδρῶν τὸ παιδίον, τούτου παῖς νομίζεται.

Other Testimonia

No information available at this time.

Other Commentary

Perseus Encyclopedia: Ausees, a Libyan people on the sea coast


No information available at this time.