Ethiopian Food as a Means of Sacral Landscape Formation in Herodotus History

Rūdolfs Reinis Vītoliņš

The aim of the article is to investigate how description of food accounts for the differences between mad conquer Cambyses and the long living, pious Ethiopians. The article first illustrates the location of sacred and mythical Ethiopia on the mental maps of the Greeks. Second, it investigates the discussion about agriculture between Persian spies and Ethiopians in Herodotus’ narrative. Third, it investigates how Ethiopian eating traditions incorporate traditions of Hellenic cults. Fourth, it shows how Persians, by trying to obtain sacred Ethiopian food, lose their humanity. The article concludes that Herodotus is using mythical concepts about Ethiopians and Hellenic cult traditions to shows us specific details about different cultures and the logical clashes between them. In a sense the Ethiopians are mirror images of the Hellenes but wiser and more capable of fighting against Persian conquest.