PYGMIES. The name " pygmy " (Greek 7,-vvatos, from 7rvyt4) means one whose height is measured by the distance between the elbow and the knuckles of an ordinary man, pr rather less than an ell. The pygmies appear in Homer (It., iii. 6) as a tiny folk who dwelt by the streams of Ocean in the far southern land whither the cranes fly at the approach of our northern winter. The cranes made war on them and slaughtered them. These battles between the pygmies and the cranes are often mentioned by later writers and are frequently represented on vases. Philostratus describes a picture of the sleeping Hercules beset by swarms of pygmies, as Gulliver was by the Lilliputians. Aristotle held that the pygmies were a race of little men inhabiting the marshes out of which he supposed the Nile to flow. Other writers localized them in various parts of the world. Ctesias describes at some length a race of pygmies in the heart of India. They were black and ugly; the tallest of them were only two ells high ; their hair and beards were so long that they served them as garments ; they were excellent bowmen, and hunted hares and foxes with hawks, ravens, and eagles; their language and customs were those of the rest of the Indians, and they were very honest ; their cattle were small in proportion. Pygmies are also mentioned in Thrace (where they were called Catizi by the natives, according to Pliny) and in Caria. Eustathius speaks of pygmies in the far north, near Thule. Strabo was inclined to regard them as fabulous ; no trustworthy person, he says, had seen them. There is, however, a story in Herodotus which would seem to show that the belief in the pygmies originated in well-founded reports of a race of undersized men in the heart of Africa. According to Herodotus (ii. 32), five men of the Nasamonians (a Libyan people near the Greater Syrtis) journeyed westward through the desert for many days till they came to a tribe of little black men of a strange speech, by whose city ran a great river flowing from west to east, and in it there were crocodiles ; moreover, there were fruit-bearing trees in that country and great marshes. This story is not improbable ; the river may have been the Niger (Joliba or Quorra) and the people may have been allied to the Akka, an undersized race discovered within recent years near the equator by Schweinfurth, who thinks that they, as well as the Bushmen of South Africa, are remnants of an aboriginal population of Africa now becoming extinct.