Greek Name:Λωτοφάγοι

Latin Name:


Cultural Notes

Live exclusively on lotus fruit.

Geographical Notes

Africa (outside Egypt); on a headland which juts out into the sea from the territory of the Gindanes

Citations in Herodotos

4.177 geography of Lotus diet; 4.183 thirty days' journey from the Garamantes' nation

Key Passages in English Translation

[4.177] There is a headland jutting out into the sea from the land of the Gindanes; on it live the Lotus Eaters, whose only fare is the lotus.1 The lotus fruit is the size of a mastich-berry: it has a sweet taste like the fruit of a date-palm; the Lotus Eaters not only eat it, but make wine of it.

1 The fruit of the Rhamnus Lotus, which grows in this part of Africa, is said to be eatable, but not so delicious as to justify its Homeric epithet “honey-sweet.”

English translation by A. D. Godley. Cambridge. Harvard University Press. 1920. Retreived from <http://www.perseus.tufts.edu>

Key Passages in Greek

[4.177] ἀκτὴν δὲ προέχουσαν ἐς τὸν πόντον τούτων τῶν Γινδάνων νέμονται Λωτοφάγοι, οἳ τὸν καρπὸν μοῦνον τοῦ λωτοῦ τρώγοντες ζώουσι. ὁ δὲ τοῦ λωτοῦ καρπὸς ἐστὶ μέγαθος ὅσον τε τῆς σχίνου, γλυκύτητα δὲ τοῦ φοίνικος τῷ καρπῷ προσείκελος. ποιεῦνται δὲ ἐκ τοῦ καρποῦ τούτου οἱ Λωτοφάγοι καὶ οἶνον.

Other Testimonia

Titus Livius (Livy), The History of Rome,Benjamin Oliver Foster, Ph.D., Ed. Book 22, chapter 31

Apollodorus, Epitome, Sir James George Frazer, Ed. Book E, chapter 7 (see disambiguation)

Other Commentary

Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon

λωτο-φάγοι [α^], οἱ, (λωτός III. 2)
A.Lotus-eaters, a mythical people on the coast of North Africa, Od.9.84, Hdt.4.177, cf. X.An.3.2.25, Scyl.22, Plb.1.39.2:—their country was perh. called Λωτοφα^γία , ἡ, Thphr.HP4.3.2 (dub.l.): hence Adj. fem. Λωτοφα^γῖτις “Σύρτις” Str. 17.3.17.

Perseus Encyclopedia:

Lotus-eaters, a mythical people in the Odyssey
        Odysseus in the land of the Lotus-eaters: Apollod. E.7.1
        in the Cyrenaean part of northern Libya, on the sea coast: Hdt. 4.177, Hdt. 4.183

W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotos:

Αωτοφάγοι. The tribal name has been displaced by the descriptive ‘Lotophagi’; probably the ‘Lotus-eaters’ are really (in whole or in part) the Giridanes, who are mentioned by no other ancient geographer except Stephen of Byzantium, following H. Pliny (v. 28) calls the ‘Lotus-eaters’ Machroae, of which name some think H.'s Μάχλυες (c. 178) a blundering corruption. H. is precise in describing the lotus, because of its legendary fame in Homer (Od. ix. 84 seq.) as causing forgetfulness of home and family; Polybius (xii. 2) describes it even more fully. It is a species of thorn tree, the jujube (Zizyphus vulgaris) of the genus Rhamnaceae, to which the English buckthorn belongs, with a fruit like a plum in size and shape, which is eaten, especially when dried. The Egyptian lotus (ii. 92. 2 n.) is quite distinct. See Rawlinson ad loc. for six different kinds of lotus. A sort of wine is still made from the fruit. The σχῖνος is the lentisk tree.


Mythical people in Homer's Odyssey Book 9, card 82 and Book 23, card 310; also sited in Apollodorus, Epitome, Sir James George Frazer, Ed. Book E, chapter 7