|© 1998 Bernard SUZANNE
|Last updated December 13, 1998
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This page is part of the "tools" section of a site, Plato and his dialogues, dedicated to developing a new interpretation of Plato's dialogues. The "tools" section provides historical and geographical context (chronology, maps, entries on characters and locations) for Socrates, Plato and their time. By clicking on the minimap at the beginning of the entry, you can go to a full size map in which the city or location appears. For more information on the structure of entries and links available from them, read the notice at the beginning of the index of persons and locations.
For the Greeks of Plato's time, as can be seen in Herodotus' Histories, IV, 42-45, Libya was the name of the third part of the known world, after Europe and Asia, that is, our modern Africa, or at least its northern part along the Mediterranean. Indeed, the Greek world was organized with the Mediterrranean in its center and split into three parts when rounding it :
Libya owed its name to a daughter of Epaphus, a king of Tyre (or Sidon) and a son of Io and Zeus, born after Io, under the form of a white heifer, had fled Argos and reached the coast of Syria in the area that was to become the country of the Phoenicians. This daughter named Libya was loved by Poseidon from whom she had two sons, Agenor, the mythical hero of Phoenicia, and Belus, the mythical hero of Egypt. Agenor in turn was the father of Europa and her brothers Cadmus (the founder of the Greek Thebes), Phoenix (the eponym of Phoenicia), Cilix (the eponym of Cilicia and Thasus (the eponym of the island of Thasos), all of whom founded settlements and cities during their quest for their sister after she had been loved and abducted by Zeus taking the guise of a bull to become the mother of the Cretan king Minos. Belus, for his part, gave birth to Danaus and Egyptus, whose offspring returned to Argos.