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date: 02 July 2022



  • Robert G. Morkot


Trogodytae were a people of ‘*Ethiopia’, in particular the Eastern Desert of southern Egypt and north Sudan. In MSS of classical authors we frequently find a reading which, by inclusion of the letter ‘l’, gives, or implies, the name Troglodytae, ‘cave-enterers’, ‘cave-dwellers’. This latter name may be applied rightly to people with that name placed by classical writers on the northern side of the *Caucasus, where ‘Troglodytes’ lived in caves because of the cold; to a people in north-western Africa; to a people in the interior of northern Africa; and possibly to peoples on the eastern coast of the *Red Sea. But when the people concerned are located in Egypt and to the south of it, the name Troglodytae must be taken as false, reflecting no doubt a common confusion, the true name, as various MSS and papyri show, being Trogodytae with no reference to caves. Trogodytica included the whole coastline from Suez to the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb. There were and are no natural caves in the eastern deserts of Africa; and it is probable that the Trogodytes lived in huts of wickerwork as the Beja do now. Their lands on the Red Sea coast were explored by agents of *Ptolemy (1) II and II.


  • Near East

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