Greek Name: Κυρηναῖοι

Latin Name:

Toponyms: Cyrene

Cultural Notes

Three harvest seasons lasting eight months all together

Geographical Notes

Africa (outside Egypt); lived in Aziris, coastal territory, bordering the Asbystae

Citations in Herodotos

3.13 five hundred silver minae gifted to Cambyses; 4.154 story of Battus; 4.155 naming of Battus; 4.159 dividing land of surrounding Libya; 4.160 Revolt of Barce; 4.161 division into three tribes; 4.164 death of Arcesilaus; 4.169 colonies; 4.170 customs immitated by Asbystae; 4.199 three harvest seasons lasting eight months; 4.201 Persians passing through Cyrene.

Key Passages in English Translation

[4.199] The country of Cyrene, which is the highest part of the Libya that the nomads inhabit, has the marvellous advantage of three harvest seasons. The fruits of the earth are ripe for reaping and picking on the coast first; when these have been gathered, the middle region above the coast, which they call the Hills, is ripe for gathering; [2] and no sooner has this yield of the middle country been gathered than the highest-lying crops are mellow and ripe, so that the latest fruits of the earth are coming in when the earliest are already spent by way of food and drink. Thus the Cyrenaeans have a harvest lasting eight months. Enough of these matters, then.

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

Key Passages in Greek

[4.199] ἔχει δὲ καὶ ἡ Κυρηναίη χώρη, ἐοῦσα ὑψηλοτάτη ταύτης τῆς Λιβύης τὴν οἱ νομάδες νέμονται, τρεῖς ὥρας ἐν ἑωυτῇ ἀξίας θώματος. πρῶτα μὲν γὰρ τὰ παραθαλάσσια τῶν καρπῶν ὀργᾷ ἀμᾶσθαι τε καὶ τρυγᾶσθαι: τούτων τε δὴ συγκεκομισμένων τὰ ὑπὲρ τῶν θαλασσιδίων χώρων τὰ μέσα ὀργᾷ συγκομίζεσθαι, τὰ βουνοὺς καλέουσι: [2] συγκεκόμισται τε οὗτος ὁ μέσος καρπὸς καὶ ὁ ἐν τῇ κατυπερτάτῃ τῆς γῆς πεπαίνεταί τε καὶ ὀργᾷ, ὥστε ἐκπέποται τε καὶ καταβέβρωται ὁ πρῶτος καρπὸς καὶ ὁ τελευταῖος συμπαραγίνεται. οὕτω ἐπ᾽ ὀκτὼ μῆνας Κυρηναίους ὀπώρη ἐπέχει. ταῦτα μέν νυν ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον εἰρήσθω.

Other Testimonia

Pausanias, Description of Greece Book 10, Chapter 15

Diodorus Siculus, Library Book 15, Chapter 15; Book 14, Chapter 34

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, R.D. Hicks, Ed: Book 2, Chapter 8
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology, William Smith, Ed.

Other Commentary

W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus: Book 2, Chapter 92; Book 2, Chapter 96; Book 4, Chapter 160; Book 4, Chapter 203
Strabo, Geography, H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A., Ed: Book 17, Chapter 3, Sections21-23

Perseus Encyclopedia:

Cyrene, founded by Battus

Cyrene (2), mother of Aristaeus by Apollo


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