The Macrobians were an ancient people and kingdom positioned on the Somali peninsula during the 1st millennium BC. They are mentioned by Herodotus as being a nation of people that had mastered longevity with the average Macrobian living till the age of 120. They were said to be the "Tallest and Handsomest of all men". The Persian Emperor Cambyses II upon conquering Ancient Egypt sent ambassadors to Macrobia bringing luxury gifts for the Macrobian king to entice his submission, but instead the Macrobian ruler replied with a challenge for the Persian ruler in the form of an unstrung bow, that if the Persians could manage to string, they would have the right to invade his country, but until then they should thank the gods that the Macrobians never decided to invade their empire. http://www.topix.com/forum/world/somalia
Herodotus narrates, that, when Cambyses sent ambassadors to the Macrobians, they asked what the Persians had to eat and how long they commonly lived. He was told that they sometimes attained the age of eighty, and that they ate a mass of crushed grain, which they termed bread. On this, they said that it was no wonder, if the Persians died young, when they partook of such rubbish, and that probably they would not survive even so long, but for the wine they drank; while the Macrobians lived on flesh and milk, and survived one hundred and twenty years. http://www.freefictionbooks.org/books/a/
A. H. L. (Arnold Hermann Ludwig) Heeren. Historical researches into the politics, intercourse, and trade of the Carthaginians, Ethiopians, and Egyptians (Volume 1)
CHAP. I. GEOGRAPHICAL SURVEY. 317
Before quitting Ethiopia above Egypt, there, still remains an Ethiopian nation to be noticed, highly celebrated in antiquity, and which Herodotus has copiously described, the Macrobians, The expedition of Cambyses was directed against them, by which circumstance they have obtained a place in history.
A rumour of the vast quantity of gold which they possessed determined Cambyses to this expedition ; he sent, however, before-hand, some spies into their country ; and these were Ichthyophagi, whom he sent for from the city of Elephantis, as they understood their language. Cambyses furnished them with presents for the king of the Macrobians, a purple robe, golden necklace, bracelets, perfumes, and a cask of palm wine. These Macrobians, according to the statement of the Ichthyophagi, were a tall and beautiful race, had their own laws and institutions, and elected the tallest among them to the dignity of king. This monarch soon discovered that these ambassadors were spies. He looked at their presents, with the use of which he was unacquainted. The robe, the perfumes, and the necklace, which he took for fetters, he returned ; the wine was the only thing which he found agreeable. He demanded how long the Persians lived, and what their king was accustomed to eat. They informed him, bread, describing at the same time the nature of corn, and that the greatest age to which the Persians attained was eighty years. He answered, that he did not wonder at their living no longer, who fed upon such rubbish ; and that probably they would not live even so long if it were not for their drink, namely, their wine, in which the Macrobians alone excelled them. Upon being then asked by the ambassadors how long the Macrobians lived, and upon what they subsisted ; he replied, an hundred and twenty years, and sometimes longer; that their food was boiled flesh and milk. He sent to the Persian king,in return for his present, a great bow, and told the ambassadors to inform him, that when he could bend this bow as easily as a Persian one, he might undertake an expedition against the Macrobians.
The ambassadors were shown, as most remarkable, what was called the table of the sun ; this was a meadow in the skirts of the city, in which much boiled flesh was laid, placed there by the magistrates every night, upon which all who chose might eat in the day. The inhabitants report that the earth brings it forth.— The ambassadors were next led to the prison, where the captives were bound in golden fetters ; brass among the Ethiopians being one of the greatest rarities. Finally, they were shown the sepulchres, which were made of glass. http://books.google.com/books?id=_bYUAAA
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