See Article History Strabo, born c. Its numerous quotations from technical literature, moreover, provide a remarkable account of the state of Greek geographical science , as well as of the history of the countries it surveys. His first teacher was the master of rhetoric Aristodemus, a former tutor of the sons of Pompey —48 bce in Nysa now Sultanhisar in Turkey on the Maeander now Menderes River. He moved to Rome in 44 bce to study with Tyrannion, the former tutor of Cicero , and with Xenarchus, both of whom were members of the Aristotelian school of philosophy. It was in Rome , where he stayed at least until 31 bce, that he wrote his first major work, his book Historical Sketches, published in about 20 bce, of which but a few quotations survive. The Historical Sketches covered the history of the known world from bce—that is, from the conquest of Greece by the Romans—to the Battle of Actium 31 bce or to the beginnings of the principate of the Roman emperor Augustus 27 bce.
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See Article History Strabo, born c. Its numerous quotations from technical literature, moreover, provide a remarkable account of the state of Greek geographical science , as well as of the history of the countries it surveys.
His first teacher was the master of rhetoric Aristodemus, a former tutor of the sons of Pompey —48 bce in Nysa now Sultanhisar in Turkey on the Maeander now Menderes River. He moved to Rome in 44 bce to study with Tyrannion, the former tutor of Cicero , and with Xenarchus, both of whom were members of the Aristotelian school of philosophy.
It was in Rome , where he stayed at least until 31 bce, that he wrote his first major work, his book Historical Sketches, published in about 20 bce, of which but a few quotations survive. The Historical Sketches covered the history of the known world from bce—that is, from the conquest of Greece by the Romans—to the Battle of Actium 31 bce or to the beginnings of the principate of the Roman emperor Augustus 27 bce.
In 25 or 24, together with Aelius Gallus, prefect of Egypt , who had been sent on a military mission to Arabia, he sailed up the Nile as far as Philae. There are then no further references to him until 17 ce, when he attended the triumph of the Roman general Germanicus Caesar 15 bce to 19 ce in Rome. He died after having devoted his last years to compiling his second important work, his Geographical Sketches.
Judging by the date when he wrote his personal notes, he must have worked on the book after his stay in Egypt and then have put it aside from 2? Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription.
Subscribe today The first two books, in effect, provide a definition of the aims and methods of geography by criticizing earlier works and authors. Strabo found fault with the map designing of the Greek scholar Eratosthenes , who lived from c.
Although Strabo closely followed the treatise against Eratosthenes of the Greek astronomer Hipparchus , who had lived in the 2nd century bce, he blamed Hipparchus for neglecting the description of the Earth. On the other hand, he appreciated Polybius , who had written, in addition to his historical works, two books on European geography that Strabo admired for their descriptions of places and peoples. This critical study led him logically to decide in favour of a descriptive type of geography, based on a map with an orthogonal perpendicular projection.
The problem of projecting the sphere on a flat surface is not dealt with at any length, for his work, as he said, was designed not for mathematicians but for statesmen who must know countries, natural resources, and customs. In Books III to VI, Strabo successively described Iberia, Gaul, and Italy, for which his main sources were Polybius and Poseidonius, both of whom had visited these countries; in addition, Artemidorus , a Greek geographer born about bce and the author of a book describing a voyage around the inhabited Earth, provided him with a description of the coasts and thus of the shape and size of countries.
Writing about Greece, in Books VIII to X, he still relied upon Artemidorus, but the bulk of his information was taken from two commentators of Homer — Apollodorus of Athens 2nd century bce and Demetrius of Scepsis born about bce —for Strabo placed great emphasis on identifying the cities named in the Greek epic the Iliad.
Here Strabo made the greatest use of his own observations, though he often quoted historians who dealt with the wars fought in these regions and cited Demetrius on problems of Homeric topography in the region about ancient Troy. India and Persia Book XV were described according to information given by the historians of the campaigns of Alexander the Great to bce , whereas his descriptions of Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, and the Red Sea Book XVI were based on the accounts of the expeditions sent out by Mark Antony about 83 to 30 bce and by the emperor Augustus , as well as on chapters on ethnography in Poseidonius and on the book of a Red Sea voyage taken by the Greek historian and geographer Agatharchides 2nd century bce.
Obviously, personal travel notes formed only a small part of the material used in this considerable work, although Strabo prided himself on having travelled westward from Armenia as far as the regions of Tuscany opposite Sardinia, and southward from the Black Sea as far as the frontiers of Ethiopia. Even on the subject of Italy, where he lived for a long time, Strabo did not himself contribute more than a few scattered impressions. His material, accordingly, mostly dates from the time of the sources he used, although the reader is not made aware of this.
The value of firsthand observations, chosen from the sources with care, compensates, however, for his lack of originality and contemporaneousness. Strabo showed himself equally competent in selecting useful information—giving distances from city to city and mentioning the frontiers between countries or provinces as well as the main agricultural and industrial activities, political statutes, ethnographic peculiarities, and religious practices.
He also took interest in the histories of cities and states, and—when he knew them—mentioned the circumstances under which they were founded, related myths or legends , wars they had instigated or endured, their expansion or recession, and their celebrities.
Geological phenomena were reported when they were in some way unusual or when they furnished an explanation for other phenomena—such as the Atlantic tides in Iberia, the volcanic landscapes to be seen in southern Italy and Sicily, the fountains of naphtha occurring near the Euphrates River , and the rise and fall of the Nile waters.
Paradoxically, although the description of Greece fills three whole books, such elements are virtually neglected in them. These books, however, illustrate another side of his thought, based on the conviction that Homer was perfectly acquainted with the geography of the Mediterranean area and that the correct critical interpretation would reveal his vast learning.
Strabo, Geography, books 1-17 in 8 volumes (Loeb Classical Library)
Email Strabo ca. He became a keen traveller who saw a large part of Italy, various near eastern regions including the Black Sea, various parts of Asia Minor, Egypt as far as Ethiopia, and parts of Greece. He was a long time in Alexandria where he no doubt studied mathematics, astronomy, and history. After two introductory books, numbers 3 and 4 deal with Spain and Gaul, 5 and 6 with Italy and Sicily, 7 with north and east Europe, 8—10 with Greek lands, 11—14 with the main regions of Asia and with Asia Minor, 15 with India and Iran, 16 with Assyria, Babylonia, Syria, and Arabia, 17 with Egypt and Africa.
De fontibus[ recensere fontem recensere ] In prooemio sese iactabat quod in multas partes orbis peregrinatus esset, "a Ponto Euxino ad Aethiopiam " et "ab Armenia ad Tyrrheniam " . Romam quoque navigavit primum circa 44 a. Hoc sermone narrando quam pauper esset illa insula lectoribus manifestum faciebat . Viatores quoque interrogare solebat ut illos negotiatores qui e Rubro mari ad Indos commercii causa navigabant. Nihilominus paene omnia quae in Geographicis legimus e prioribus auctoribus excerpta sunt nec dissensiones inter fontes dissimulabat Strabo qui permultos historicos et geographos legerat. Eo difficilior lectori moderno Strabonis lectio fit quod suturas inter varia excerpta non satis planas fecit. Magni enim refert fontes agnoscere quos saepius quam multi scriptores illius aetatis, non semper tamen, nominabat.