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Strabo

This article is about the Greek geographer. For other people called "Strabo", see Strabo (disambiguation).

Strabo (; Greek:Στράβων Strábōn; 64 or 63 BC –c. 24 AD) was a Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian who lived in Asia Minor during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire.

Strabo
16th-century engraving of Strabo
Born64 or 63 BC
Amaseia, Pontus
(modern-day Amasya, Turkey)
Diedc. AD 24
(aged c. 87)
Occupation
  • Geographer
  • Philosopher
  • Historian

Contents

Title page from Isaac Casaubon's 1620 edition of Geographica

Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus (in present-day Turkey) in around 64BC. His family had been involved in politics since at least the reign of Mithridates V. Strabo was related to Dorylaeus on his mother's side. Several other family members, including his paternal grandfather had served Mithridates VI during the Mithridatic Wars. As the war drew to a close, Strabo's grandfather had turned several Pontic fortresses over to the Romans. Strabo wrote that "great promises were made in exchange for these services", and as Persian culture endured in Amaseia even after Mithridates and Tigranes were defeated, scholars have speculated about how the family's support for Rome might have affected their position in the local community, and whether they might have been granted Roman citizenship as a reward.

Strabo as depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle

Strabo's life was characterized by extensive travels. He journeyed to Egypt and Kush, as far west as coastal Tuscany and as far south as Ethiopia in addition to his travels in Asia Minor and the time he spent in Rome. Travel throughout the Mediterranean and Near East, especially for scholarly purposes, was popular during this era and was facilitated by the relative peace enjoyed throughout the reign of Augustus (27 BC – AD 14). He moved to Rome in 44 BC, and stayed there, studying and writing, until at least 31 BC. In 29 BC, on his way to Corinth (where Augustus was at the time), he visited the island of Gyaros in the Aegean Sea. Around 25 BC, he sailed up the Nile until he reached Philae, after which point there is little record of his travels until AD 17.

Statue of Strabo in his hometown (modern-day Amasya, Turkey)

It is not known precisely when Strabo's Geography was written, though comments within the work itself place the finished version within the reign of Emperor Tiberius. Some place its first drafts around 7 BC, others around AD 17 or AD 18. The latest passage to which a date can be assigned is his reference to the death in AD 23 of Juba II, king of Maurousia (Mauretania), who is said to have died "just recently". He probably worked on the Geography for many years and revised it steadily, but not always consistently. It is an encyclopaedic chronicle and consists of political, economic, social, cultural, geographic description covering almost all of Europe and the Mediterranean: British Isles, Iberian Peninsula, Gaul, Germania, the Alps, Italy, Greece, Northern Black Sea region, Anatolia, Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa. The Geography is the only extant work providing information about both Greek and Roman peoples and countries during the reign of Augustus.

On the presumption that "recently" means within a year, Strabo stopped writing that year or the next (AD 24), at which time he is thought to have died. He was influenced by Homer, Hecataeus and Aristotle. The first of Strabo's major works, Historical Sketches (Historica hypomnemata), written while he was in Rome (c. 20 BC), is nearly completely lost. Meant to cover the history of the known world from the conquest of Greece by the Romans, Strabo quotes it himself and other classical authors mention that it existed, although the only surviving document is a fragment of papyrus now in the possession of the University of Milan (renumbered [Papyrus] 46).

Strabo studied under several prominent teachers of various specialities throughout his early life at different stops during his Mediterranean travels. The first chapter of his education took place in Nysa (modern Sultanhisar, Turkey) under the master of rhetoric Aristodemus, who had formerly taught the sons of the Roman general who had taken over Pontus. Aristodemus was the head of two schools of rhetoric and grammar, one in Nysa and one in Rhodes. The school in Nysa possessed a distinct intellectual curiosity in Homeric literature and the interpretation of the ancient Greek epics. Strabo was an admirer of Homer's poetry, perhaps as a consequence of his time spent in Nysa with Aristodemus.

At around the age of 21, Strabo moved to Rome, where he studied philosophy with the Peripatetic Xenarchus, a highly respected tutor in Augustus's court. Despite Xenarchus's Aristotelian leanings, Strabo later gives evidence to have formed his own Stoic inclinations. In Rome, he also learned grammar under the rich and famous scholar Tyrannion of Amisus. Although Tyrannion was also a Peripatetic, he was more relevantly a respected authority on geography, a fact of some significance considering Strabo's future contributions to the field.

The final noteworthy mentor to Strabo was Athenodorus Cananites, a philosopher who had spent his life since 44 BC in Rome forging relationships with the Roman elite. Athenodorus passed onto Strabo his philosophy, his knowledge and his contacts. Unlike the Aristotelian Xenarchus and Tyrannion who preceded him in teaching Strabo, Athenodorus was a Stoic and almost certainly the source of Strabo's diversion from the philosophy of his former mentors. Moreover, from his own first-hand experience, Athenodorus provided Strabo with information about regions of the empire which Strabo would not otherwise have known about.

Main article: Geographica
Map of the world according to Strabo.

Strabo is best known for his work Geographica ("Geography"), which presented a descriptive history of people and places from different regions of the world known during his lifetime.

Map of Europe according to Strabo.

Although the Geographica was rarely utilized by contemporary writers, a multitude of copies survived throughout the Byzantine Empire. It first appeared in Western Europe in Rome as a Latin translation issued around 1469. The first Greek edition was published in 1516 in Venice. Isaac Casaubon, classical scholar and editor of Greek texts, provided the first critical edition in 1587.

Although Strabo cited the classical Greek astronomers Eratosthenes and Hipparchus, acknowledging their astronomical and mathematical efforts covering geography, he claimed that a descriptive approach was more practical, such that his works were designed for statesmen who were more anthropologically than numerically concerned with the character of countries and regions.[citation needed]

As such, Geographica provides a valuable source of information on the ancient world of his day, especially when this information is corroborated by other sources. He travelled extensively, as he says: "Westward I have journeyed to the parts of Etruria opposite Sardinia; towards the south from the Euxine to the borders of Ethiopia; and perhaps not one of those who have written geographies has visited more places than I have between those limits."[citation needed]

It is not known when he wrote Geographica, but he spent much time in the famous library in Alexandria taking notes from "the works of his predecessors". A first edition was published in 7 BC and a final edition no later than 23 AD, in what may have been the last year of Strabo's life. It took some time for Geographica to be recognized by scholars and for Geographica to become a standard. In his last book of Geographica, he wrote quite extensively about the thriving port city of Alexandria suggesting a highly developed local economy at that time.

Strabo also describes the city of Alexandria noting that there were many beautiful public parks and the city was reticulated with streets wide enough for chariots and horsemen. "Two of these are exceeding broad, over a plethron in breadth, and cut one another at right angles ... All the buildings are connected one with another, and these also with what are beyond it."

Lawrence Kim observes that Strabo is "... pro-Roman throughout the Geography. But while he acknowledges and even praises Roman ascendancy in the political and military sphere, he also makes a significant effort to establish Greek primacy over Rome in other contexts."

In Europe, Strabo was the first to connect the Danube – Danouios and the Istros – with the change of names occurring at "the cataracts," the modern Iron Gates on the Romanian/Serbian border.

In India, a country he never visited, Strabo described small flying reptiles that were long with a snake-like body and bat-like wings, winged scorpions, and other mythical creatures along with those that were actually factual. Other historians, such as Herodotus, Aristotle, and Flavius Josephus, mentioned similar creatures.[citation needed]

Charles Lyell, in his Principles of Geology, wrote of Strabo:

Strabo…enters largely, in the Second Book of his Geography, into the opinions of Eratosthenes and other Greeks on one of the most difficult problems in geology, viz., by what causes marine shells came to be plentifully buried in the earth at such great elevations and distances from the sea.

He notices, amongst others, the explanation of Xanthus the Lydian, who said that the seas had once been more extensive, and that they had afterwards been partially dried up, as in his own time many lakes, rivers, and wells in Asia had failed during a season of drought. Treating this conjecture with merited disregard, Strabo passes on to the hypothesis of Strato, the natural philosopher, who had observed that the quantity of mud brought down by rivers into the Euxine was so great, that its bed must be gradually raised, while the rivers still continued to pour in an undiminished quantity of water. He therefore conceived that, originally, when the Euxine was an inland sea, its level had by this means become so much elevated that it burst its barrier near Byzantium, and formed a communication with the Propontis, and this partial drainage had already, he supposed, converted the left side into marshy ground, and that, at last, the whole would be choked up with soil. So, it was argued, the Mediterranean had once opened a passage for itself by the Columns of Hercules into the Atlantic, and perhaps the abundance of sea-shells in Africa, near the Temple of Jupiter Ammon, might also be the deposit of some former inland sea, which had at length forced a passage and escaped.

But Strabo rejects this theory as insufficient to account for all the phenomena, and he proposes one of his own, the profoundness of which modern geologists are only beginning to appreciate. 'It is not,' he says, 'because the lands covered by seas were originally at different altitudes, that the waters have risen, or subsided, or receded from some parts and inundated others. But the reason is, that the same land is sometimes raised up and sometimes depressed, and the sea also is simultaneously raised and depressed so that it either overflows or returns into its own place again. We must, therefore, ascribe the cause to the ground, either to that ground which is under the sea, or to that which becomes flooded by it, but rather to that which lies beneath the sea, for this is more moveable, and, on account of its humidity, can be altered with great celerity. It is proper,' he observes in continuation, 'to derive our explanations from things which are obvious, and in some measure of daily occurrences, such as deluges, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and sudden swellings of the land beneath the sea; for the last raise up the sea also, and when the same lands subside again, they occasion the sea to be let down. And it is not merely the small, but the large islands also, and not merely the islands, but the continents, which can be lifted up together with the sea; and both large and small tracts may subside, for habitations and cities, like Bure, Bizona, and many others, have been engulfed by earthquakes.'

In another place, this learned geographer [Strabo], in alluding to the tradition that Sicily had been separated by a convulsion from Italy, remarks, that at present the land near the sea in those parts was rarely shaken by earthquakes, since there were now open orifices whereby fire and ignited matters and waters escaped; but formerly, when the volcanoes of Etna, the Lipari Islands, Ischia, and others, were closed up, the imprisoned fire and wind might have produced far more vehement movements. The doctrine, therefore, that volcanoes are safety valves, and that the subterranean convulsions are probably most violent when first the volcanic energy shifts itself to a new quarter, is not modern.

Fossil formation

Strabo commented on fossil formation mentioning Nummulite (quoted from Celâl Şengör):

One extraordinary thing which I saw at the pyramids must not be omitted. Heaps of stones from the quarries lie in front of the pyramids. Among these are found pieces which in shape and size resemble lentils. Some contain substances like grains half peeled. These, it is said, are the remnants of the workmen's food converted into stone; which is not probable. For at home in our country (Amaseia), there is a long hill in a plain, which abounds with pebbles of a porous stone, resembling lentils. The pebbles of the sea-shore and of rivers suggest somewhat of the same difficulty [respecting their origin]; some explanation may indeed be found in the motion [to which these are subject] in flowing waters, but the investigation of the above fact presents more difficulty. I have said elsewhere, that in sight of the pyramids, on the other side in Arabia, and near the stone quarries from which they are built, is a very rocky mountain, called the Trojan mountain; beneath it there are caves, and near the caves and the river a village called Troy, an ancient settlement of the captive Trojans who had accompanied Menelaus and settled there.

Volcanism

Strabo commented on volcanism (effusive eruption) which he observed at Katakekaumene (modern Kula, Western Turkey). Strabo observations predated Pliny the Younger who witnessed the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on 24 August AD 79 in Pompeii:

…There are no trees here, but only the vineyards where they produce the Katakekaumene wines which are by no means inferior from any of the wines famous for their quality. The soil is covered with ashes, and black in colour as if the mountainous and rocky country was made up of fires. Some assume that these ashes were the result of thunderbolts and subterranean explosions, and do not doubt that the legendary story of Typhon takes place in this region. Ksanthos adds that the king of this region was a man called Arimus. However, it is not reasonable to accept that the whole country was burned down at a time as a result of such an event rather than as a result of a fire bursting from underground whose source has now died out. Three pits are called "Physas" and separated by forty stadia from each other. Above these pits, there are hills formed by the hot masses burst out from the ground as estimated by a logical reasoning. Such type of soil is very convenient for viniculture, just like the Katanasoil which is covered with ashes and where the best wines are still produced abundantly. Some writers concluded by looking at these places that there is a good reason for calling Dionysus by the name ("Phrygenes").

  • Meineke, Augustus, ed. (1877). Strabonis Geographica. Lipsiae: B.G. Teubneri.
  • Strabo (1852). Gustav Kramer (ed.). Strabonis Geographica. Recens. G. Kramer. Ed. minor.
  • Stefan Radt, ed. (2002–2011). Strabons Geographika : mit Übersetzung und Kommentar. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
  • Jones, H. L., transl. (1917). The Geography of Strabo. London: Heinemann.
  • Strabo's Geography in three volumes as translated by H.C. Hamilton, ed. H.G. Bohn, 1854–1857

Notes

  1. Strabo (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus) was a term employed by the Romans for anyone whose eyes were distorted or deformed. The father of Pompey was called "Pompeius Strabo". A native of Sicily so clear-sighted that he could see things at great distance as if they were nearby was also called "Strabo".
  2. Accompanied by prefect of Egypt Aelius Gallus, who had been sent on a military mission to Arabia.
  3. He mentions all or most of his teachers as prominent citizens of their own respective cities.
  4. This also highlights the international trend of the era that Greek intellectuals would often instruct the Roman elite.
  5. Aristodemus was also the grandson of the famous Posidonius, whose influence is manifest in Strabo's Geography.
  6. Largely due to his future teacher Athenodorus, tutor of Augustus.
  7. Thus completing his traditional Greek aristocratic education in rhetoric, grammar, and philosophy. Tyrannion was known to have befriended Cicero and taught his nephew, Quintus.

Citations

  1. Purcell, Nicholas (2014). "Strabo". In Hornblower, Simon; Spawforth, Antony; Eidinow, Esther (eds.). The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization. Oxford University Press. p. 757. ISBN 978-0-19-870677-9.
  2. Bianchetti, Serena; Cataudella, Michele; Gehrke, Hans-Joachim (4 December 2015). Brill's Companion to Ancient Geography: The Inhabited World in Greek and Roman Tradition. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-28471-5.
  3. Adrienne Mayor (March 2011). The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy. Princeton University Press. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-0-691-15026-0.
  4. Strabo (1917). Geography. Vol. I. Translated by Horace Leonard Jones. London: William Heinemann. p. xxv-xxvi.|volume= has extra text ()
  5. Sarah Pothecary, When was the Geography written?
  6. Strabo (1949). "34". Geography. Vol. VIII Book XVII. Translated by Horace Leonard Jones. London: William Heinemann. p. 95.|volume= has extra text ()
  7. Strabo, Geography, Volume I: Books 1-2. Loeb Classical Library. n.d. ISBN 9780674990555. Retrieved8 September 2018.
  8. "Strabo | Greek geographer and historian". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  9. Geographie, Band 1, Strabo, S.17, Strabo, Karl Kärcher, Gottlieb Lukas Friedrich Tafel, Christian Nathanael Osiander, Gustav Schwab, Verlag Metzler, 1831.
  10. "Strabo Critical Essays - eNotes.com". eNotes.
  11. Strabo, Geography 17.1.6, 7, 8, 13; translated by Brent Shaw. Attained from: E.A. Pollard, C. Rosenberg, and R.L. Tignor, et al. Worlds Together, Worlds Apart, Concise, Volume One: Beginnings through the Fifteenth Century (W.W. Norton, 2015) Pg. 228
  12. Davis, William Stearns (1912). Reading in Ancient History. Vol. I: Greece and the East. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. pp. 325–329.|volume= has extra text ()
  13. Kim, Lawrence (2010). Homer between History and Fiction in Imperial Greek Literature. Cambridge University Press. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-139-49024-5.
  14. Roller, Duane W. (27 August 2015). Ancient Geography: The Discovery of the World in Classical Greece and Rome. ISBN 9780857725660.
  15. "Chapter 1 – Account of India by the Greek Writer Strabo".
  16. Lyell, Charles (1832). Principles of Geology. John Murray. pp. 20–21.
  17. Strabo (1950). "11". Geography. Vol. VI Book XIII. Translated by Horace Leonard Jones. London: William Heinemann. p. 183.|volume= has extra text ()
  18. Jones, H. L., transl. (1917). The Geography of Strabo. London: Heinemann. In eight volumes: Vol 1; Vol 2; Vol 3; Vol 4; Vol 5; Vol 6; Vol 7; Vol 8.

Bibliography

  • "Biography of Strabo". Tufts.
  • "Strabo". Encyclopædia Britannica (15th ed.). 1998. pp. 296–297.
  • Diller, A. (1975). The Textual Tradition of Strabo's Geography. Amsterdam.
  • Dueck, Daniela (2000). Strabo of Amasia: Greek Man of Letters in Augustan Rome. New York: Routledge.
  • Dueck, D.; H. Lindsay; S. Pothecary, eds. (2005). Strabo's Cultural Geography: The Making of a Kolossourgia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Lindberg, David C. (2008). The Beginnings of Western Science The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, Prehistory A.D. 1450 (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Roller, Duane (2014). The Geography of Strabo: An English Translation, with Introduction and Notes. Cambridge.

Further reading

  • Bowersock, Glen W. 2005. "La patria di Strabone." In Strabone e l’Asia Minore. Edited by Anna Maria Biraschi and Giovanni Salmieri, 15–23. Studi di Storia e di Storiografia. Göttingen, Germany: Edizione Scientifiche Italiane.
  • Braund, David. 2006. "Greek Geography and Roman Empire: The Transformation of Tradition in Strabo’s Euxine." In Strabo’s Cultural Geography: The Making of a Kolossourgia. Edited by Daniela Dueck, Hugh Lindsay, and Sarah Pothecary, 216–234. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.
  • Clarke, Katherine. 1997. "In Search of the Author of Strabo’s Geography." Journal of Roman Studies 87:92–110.
  • Diller, Aubrey. 1975. The Textual Tradition of Strabo’s Geography. Amsterdam: Hakkert.
  • Irby, Georgia L. 2012. "Mapping the World: Greek Initiatives from Homer to Eratosthenes." In Ancient Perspectives: Maps and their Place in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Edited by Richard J. A. Talbert, 81–107. Kenneth Nebenzahl Jr. Lectures in the History of Cartography. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
  • Kim, Lawrence. 2007. "The Portrait of Homer in Strabo’s Geography." Classical Philology 102.4: 363–388.
  • Kuin, Inger N.I. 2017. "Rewriting Family History: Strabo and the Mithridatic Wars." Phoenix 71.1-2: 102-118.
  • Pfuntner, Laura. 2017. "Death and Birth in the Urban Landscape: Strabo on Troy and Rome." Classical Antiquity 36.1: 33-51.
  • Pothecary, Sarah. 1999. "Strabo the Geographer: His Name and its Meaning." Mnemosyne, 4th ser. 52.6: 691–704
  • Richards, G. C. 1941. "Strabo: The Anatolian who Failed of Roman Recognition." Greece and Rome 10.29: 79–90.

Strabo
Strabo Language Watch Edit This article is about the Greek geographer For other people called Strabo see Strabo disambiguation Strabo n 1 ˈ s t r eɪ b oʊ Greek Strabwn Strabōn 64 or 63 BC c 24 AD was a Greek geographer philosopher and historian who lived in Asia Minor during the transitional period of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire Strabo16th century engraving of StraboBorn64 or 63 BC Amaseia Pontus modern day Amasya Turkey Diedc AD 24 aged c 87 Roman EmpireOccupationGeographerPhilosopherHistorian Contents 1 Life 2 Education 3 Geographica 4 Geology 4 1 Fossil formation 4 2 Volcanism 5 Editions 6 References 6 1 Notes 6 2 Citations 6 3 Bibliography 6 4 Further reading 7 External linksLife Edit Title page from Isaac Casaubon s 1620 edition of Geographica Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus in present day Turkey in around 64 BC 1 His family had been involved in politics since at least the reign of Mithridates V 2 Strabo was related to Dorylaeus on his mother s side Several other family members including his paternal grandfather had served Mithridates VI during the Mithridatic Wars As the war drew to a close Strabo s grandfather had turned several Pontic fortresses over to the Romans 3 Strabo wrote that great promises were made in exchange for these services and as Persian culture endured in Amaseia even after Mithridates and Tigranes were defeated scholars have speculated about how the family s support for Rome might have affected their position in the local community and whether they might have been granted Roman citizenship as a reward 2 Strabo as depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle Strabo s life was characterized by extensive travels He journeyed to Egypt and Kush as far west as coastal Tuscany and as far south as Ethiopia in addition to his travels in Asia Minor and the time he spent in Rome Travel throughout the Mediterranean and Near East especially for scholarly purposes was popular during this era and was facilitated by the relative peace enjoyed throughout the reign of Augustus 27 BC AD 14 He moved to Rome in 44 BC and stayed there studying and writing until at least 31 BC In 29 BC on his way to Corinth where Augustus was at the time he visited the island of Gyaros in the Aegean Sea Around 25 BC he sailed up the Nile until he reached Philae n 2 after which point there is little record of his travels until AD 17 Statue of Strabo in his hometown modern day Amasya Turkey It is not known precisely when Strabo s Geography was written though comments within the work itself place the finished version within the reign of Emperor Tiberius Some place its first drafts around 7 BC 4 others around AD 17 5 or AD 18 4 The latest passage to which a date can be assigned is his reference to the death in AD 23 of Juba II king of Maurousia Mauretania who is said to have died just recently 6 He probably worked on the Geography for many years and revised it steadily but not always consistently It is an encyclopaedic chronicle and consists of political economic social cultural geographic description covering almost all of Europe and the Mediterranean British Isles Iberian Peninsula Gaul Germania the Alps Italy Greece Northern Black Sea region Anatolia Middle East Central Asia and North Africa The Geography is the only extant work providing information about both Greek and Roman peoples and countries during the reign of Augustus 7 On the presumption that recently means within a year Strabo stopped writing that year or the next AD 24 at which time he is thought to have died He was influenced by Homer Hecataeus and Aristotle 8 The first of Strabo s major works Historical Sketches Historica hypomnemata written while he was in Rome c 20 BC is nearly completely lost Meant to cover the history of the known world from the conquest of Greece by the Romans Strabo quotes it himself and other classical authors mention that it existed although the only surviving document is a fragment of papyrus now in the possession of the University of Milan renumbered Papyrus 46 Education EditStrabo studied under several prominent teachers of various specialities throughout his early life n 3 at different stops during his Mediterranean travels The first chapter of his education took place in Nysa modern Sultanhisar Turkey under the master of rhetoric Aristodemus who had formerly taught the sons of the Roman general who had taken over Pontus n 4 Aristodemus was the head of two schools of rhetoric and grammar one in Nysa and one in Rhodes The school in Nysa possessed a distinct intellectual curiosity in Homeric literature and the interpretation of the ancient Greek epics Strabo was an admirer of Homer s poetry perhaps as a consequence of his time spent in Nysa with Aristodemus n 5 At around the age of 21 Strabo moved to Rome where he studied philosophy with the Peripatetic Xenarchus a highly respected tutor in Augustus s court Despite Xenarchus s Aristotelian leanings Strabo later gives evidence to have formed his own Stoic inclinations n 6 In Rome he also learned grammar under the rich and famous scholar Tyrannion of Amisus n 7 Although Tyrannion was also a Peripatetic he was more relevantly a respected authority on geography a fact of some significance considering Strabo s future contributions to the field The final noteworthy mentor to Strabo was Athenodorus Cananites a philosopher who had spent his life since 44 BC in Rome forging relationships with the Roman elite Athenodorus passed onto Strabo his philosophy his knowledge and his contacts Unlike the Aristotelian Xenarchus and Tyrannion who preceded him in teaching Strabo Athenodorus was a Stoic and almost certainly the source of Strabo s diversion from the philosophy of his former mentors Moreover from his own first hand experience Athenodorus provided Strabo with information about regions of the empire which Strabo would not otherwise have known about Geographica EditMain article Geographica Map of the world according to Strabo Strabo is best known for his work Geographica Geography which presented a descriptive history of people and places from different regions of the world known during his lifetime 6 Map of Europe according to Strabo Although the Geographica was rarely utilized by contemporary writers a multitude of copies survived throughout the Byzantine Empire It first appeared in Western Europe in Rome as a Latin translation issued around 1469 The first Greek edition was published in 1516 in Venice 9 Isaac Casaubon classical scholar and editor of Greek texts provided the first critical edition in 1587 Although Strabo cited the classical Greek astronomers Eratosthenes and Hipparchus acknowledging their astronomical and mathematical efforts covering geography he claimed that a descriptive approach was more practical such that his works were designed for statesmen who were more anthropologically than numerically concerned with the character of countries and regions citation needed As such Geographica provides a valuable source of information on the ancient world of his day especially when this information is corroborated by other sources He travelled extensively as he says Westward I have journeyed to the parts of Etruria opposite Sardinia towards the south from the Euxine to the borders of Ethiopia and perhaps not one of those who have written geographies has visited more places than I have between those limits citation needed It is not known when he wrote Geographica but he spent much time in the famous library in Alexandria taking notes from the works of his predecessors A first edition was published in 7 BC and a final edition no later than 23 AD in what may have been the last year of Strabo s life It took some time for Geographica to be recognized by scholars and for Geographica to become a standard 10 In his last book of Geographica he wrote quite extensively about the thriving port city of Alexandria suggesting a highly developed local economy at that time 11 Strabo also describes the city of Alexandria noting that there were many beautiful public parks and the city was reticulated with streets wide enough for chariots and horsemen Two of these are exceeding broad over a plethron in breadth and cut one another at right angles All the buildings are connected one with another and these also with what are beyond it 12 Lawrence Kim observes that Strabo is 13 pro Roman throughout the Geography But while he acknowledges and even praises Roman ascendancy in the political and military sphere he also makes a significant effort to establish Greek primacy over Rome in other contexts In Europe Strabo was the first to connect the Danube Danouios and the Istros with the change of names occurring at the cataracts the modern Iron Gates on the Romanian Serbian border 14 In India a country he never visited Strabo described small flying reptiles that were long with a snake like body and bat like wings winged scorpions and other mythical creatures along with those that were actually factual 15 Other historians such as Herodotus Aristotle and Flavius Josephus mentioned similar creatures citation needed Geology EditCharles Lyell in his Principles of Geology wrote of Strabo 16 Strabo enters largely in the Second Book of his Geography into the opinions of Eratosthenes and other Greeks on one of the most difficult problems in geology viz by what causes marine shells came to be plentifully buried in the earth at such great elevations and distances from the sea He notices amongst others the explanation of Xanthus the Lydian who said that the seas had once been more extensive and that they had afterwards been partially dried up as in his own time many lakes rivers and wells in Asia had failed during a season of drought Treating this conjecture with merited disregard Strabo passes on to the hypothesis of Strato the natural philosopher who had observed that the quantity of mud brought down by rivers into the Euxine was so great that its bed must be gradually raised while the rivers still continued to pour in an undiminished quantity of water He therefore conceived that originally when the Euxine was an inland sea its level had by this means become so much elevated that it burst its barrier near Byzantium and formed a communication with the Propontis and this partial drainage had already he supposed converted the left side into marshy ground and that at last the whole would be choked up with soil So it was argued the Mediterranean had once opened a passage for itself by the Columns of Hercules into the Atlantic and perhaps the abundance of sea shells in Africa near the Temple of Jupiter Ammon might also be the deposit of some former inland sea which had at length forced a passage and escaped But Strabo rejects this theory as insufficient to account for all the phenomena and he proposes one of his own the profoundness of which modern geologists are only beginning to appreciate It is not he says because the lands covered by seas were originally at different altitudes that the waters have risen or subsided or receded from some parts and inundated others But the reason is that the same land is sometimes raised up and sometimes depressed and the sea also is simultaneously raised and depressed so that it either overflows or returns into its own place again We must therefore ascribe the cause to the ground either to that ground which is under the sea or to that which becomes flooded by it but rather to that which lies beneath the sea for this is more moveable and on account of its humidity can be altered with great celerity It is proper he observes in continuation to derive our explanations from things which are obvious and in some measure of daily occurrences such as deluges earthquakes volcanic eruptions and sudden swellings of the land beneath the sea for the last raise up the sea also and when the same lands subside again they occasion the sea to be let down And it is not merely the small but the large islands also and not merely the islands but the continents which can be lifted up together with the sea and both large and small tracts may subside for habitations and cities like Bure Bizona and many others have been engulfed by earthquakes In another place this learned geographer Strabo in alluding to the tradition that Sicily had been separated by a convulsion from Italy remarks that at present the land near the sea in those parts was rarely shaken by earthquakes since there were now open orifices whereby fire and ignited matters and waters escaped but formerly when the volcanoes of Etna the Lipari Islands Ischia and others were closed up the imprisoned fire and wind might have produced far more vehement movements The doctrine therefore that volcanoes are safety valves and that the subterranean convulsions are probably most violent when first the volcanic energy shifts itself to a new quarter is not modern Fossil formation Edit Strabo commented on fossil formation mentioning Nummulite quoted from Celal Sengor 6 One extraordinary thing which I saw at the pyramids must not be omitted Heaps of stones from the quarries lie in front of the pyramids Among these are found pieces which in shape and size resemble lentils Some contain substances like grains half peeled These it is said are the remnants of the workmen s food converted into stone which is not probable For at home in our country Amaseia there is a long hill in a plain which abounds with pebbles of a porous stone resembling lentils The pebbles of the sea shore and of rivers suggest somewhat of the same difficulty respecting their origin some explanation may indeed be found in the motion to which these are subject in flowing waters but the investigation of the above fact presents more difficulty I have said elsewhere that in sight of the pyramids on the other side in Arabia and near the stone quarries from which they are built is a very rocky mountain called the Trojan mountain beneath it there are caves and near the caves and the river a village called Troy an ancient settlement of the captive Trojans who had accompanied Menelaus and settled there Volcanism Edit Strabo commented on volcanism effusive eruption which he observed at Katakekaumene modern Kula Western Turkey Strabo observations predated Pliny the Younger who witnessed the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on 24 August AD 79 in Pompeii 17 There are no trees here but only the vineyards where they produce the Katakekaumene wines which are by no means inferior from any of the wines famous for their quality The soil is covered with ashes and black in colour as if the mountainous and rocky country was made up of fires Some assume that these ashes were the result of thunderbolts and subterranean explosions and do not doubt that the legendary story of Typhon takes place in this region Ksanthos adds that the king of this region was a man called Arimus However it is not reasonable to accept that the whole country was burned down at a time as a result of such an event rather than as a result of a fire bursting from underground whose source has now died out Three pits are called Physas and separated by forty stadia from each other Above these pits there are hills formed by the hot masses burst out from the ground as estimated by a logical reasoning Such type of soil is very convenient for viniculture just like the Katanasoil which is covered with ashes and where the best wines are still produced abundantly Some writers concluded by looking at these places that there is a good reason for calling Dionysus by the name Phrygenes Editions EditMeineke Augustus ed 1877 Strabonis Geographica Lipsiae B G Teubneri Strabo 1852 Gustav Kramer ed Strabonis Geographica Recens G Kramer Ed minor Stefan Radt ed 2002 2011 Strabons Geographika mit Ubersetzung und Kommentar Gottingen Vandenhoeck amp Ruprecht Jones H L transl 1917 The Geography of Strabo London Heinemann 18 Strabo s Geography in three volumes as translated by H C Hamilton ed H G Bohn 1854 1857References EditNotes Edit Strabo meaning squinty as in strabismus was a term employed by the Romans for anyone whose eyes were distorted or deformed The father of Pompey was called Pompeius Strabo A native of Sicily so clear sighted that he could see things at great distance as if they were nearby was also called Strabo Accompanied by prefect of Egypt Aelius Gallus who had been sent on a military mission to Arabia He mentions all or most of his teachers as prominent citizens of their own respective cities This also highlights the international trend of the era that Greek intellectuals would often instruct the Roman elite Aristodemus was also the grandson of the famous Posidonius whose influence is manifest in Strabo s Geography Largely due to his future teacher Athenodorus tutor of Augustus Thus completing his traditional Greek aristocratic education in rhetoric grammar and philosophy Tyrannion was known to have befriended Cicero and taught his nephew Quintus Citations Edit Purcell Nicholas 2014 Strabo In Hornblower Simon Spawforth Antony Eidinow Esther eds The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization Oxford University Press p 757 ISBN 978 0 19 870677 9 a b Bianchetti Serena Cataudella Michele Gehrke Hans Joachim 4 December 2015 Brill s Companion to Ancient Geography The Inhabited World in Greek and Roman Tradition Leiden Brill ISBN 978 90 04 28471 5 Adrienne Mayor March 2011 The Poison King The Life and Legend of Mithradates Rome s Deadliest Enemy Princeton University Press pp 9 ISBN 978 0 691 15026 0 a b Strabo 1917 Geography Vol I Translated by Horace Leonard Jones London William Heinemann p xxv xxvi volume has extra text help Sarah Pothecary When was the Geography written a b c Strabo 1949 34 Geography Vol VIII Book XVII Translated by Horace Leonard Jones London William Heinemann p 95 volume has extra text help Strabo Geography Volume I Books 1 2 Loeb Classical Library n d ISBN 9780674990555 Retrieved 8 September 2018 Strabo Greek geographer and historian Encyclopedia Britannica Geographie Band 1 Strabo S 17 Strabo Karl Karcher Gottlieb Lukas Friedrich Tafel Christian Nathanael Osiander Gustav Schwab Verlag Metzler 1831 Strabo Critical Essays eNotes com eNotes Strabo Geography 17 1 6 7 8 13 translated by Brent Shaw Attained from E A Pollard C Rosenberg and R L Tignor et al Worlds Together Worlds Apart Concise Volume One Beginnings through the Fifteenth Century W W Norton 2015 Pg 228 Davis William Stearns 1912 Reading in Ancient History Vol I Greece and the East Boston Allyn and Bacon pp 325 329 volume has extra text help Kim Lawrence 2010 Homer between History and Fiction in Imperial Greek Literature Cambridge University Press p 83 ISBN 978 1 139 49024 5 Roller Duane W 27 August 2015 Ancient Geography The Discovery of the World in Classical Greece and Rome ISBN 9780857725660 Chapter 1 Account of India by the Greek Writer Strabo Lyell Charles 1832 Principles of Geology John Murray pp 20 21 Strabo 1950 11 Geography Vol VI Book XIII Translated by Horace Leonard Jones London William Heinemann p 183 volume has extra text help Jones H L transl 1917 The Geography of Strabo London Heinemann In eight volumes Vol 1 Vol 2 Vol 3 Vol 4 Vol 5 Vol 6 Vol 7 Vol 8 Bibliography Edit Biography of Strabo Tufts Strabo Encyclopaedia Britannica 15th ed 1998 pp 296 297 Diller A 1975 The Textual Tradition of Strabo s Geography Amsterdam Dueck Daniela 2000 Strabo of Amasia Greek Man of Letters in Augustan Rome New York Routledge Dueck D H Lindsay S Pothecary eds 2005 Strabo s Cultural Geography The Making of a Kolossourgia Cambridge Cambridge University Press Lindberg David C 2008 The Beginnings of Western Science The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical Religious and Institutional Context Prehistory A D 1450 2nd ed Chicago University of Chicago Press Roller Duane 2014 The Geography of Strabo An English Translation with Introduction and Notes Cambridge Further reading Edit Bowersock Glen W 2005 La patria di Strabone In Strabone e l Asia Minore Edited by Anna Maria Biraschi and Giovanni Salmieri 15 23 Studi di Storia e di Storiografia Gottingen Germany Edizione Scientifiche Italiane Braund David 2006 Greek Geography and Roman Empire The Transformation of Tradition in Strabo s Euxine In Strabo s Cultural Geography The Making of a Kolossourgia Edited by Daniela Dueck Hugh Lindsay and Sarah Pothecary 216 234 Cambridge UK Cambridge Univ Press Clarke Katherine 1997 In Search of the Author of Strabo s Geography Journal of Roman Studies 87 92 110 Diller Aubrey 1975 The Textual Tradition of Strabo s Geography Amsterdam Hakkert Irby Georgia L 2012 Mapping the World Greek Initiatives from Homer to Eratosthenes In Ancient Perspectives Maps and their Place in Mesopotamia Egypt Greece and Rome Edited by Richard J A Talbert 81 107 Kenneth Nebenzahl Jr Lectures in the History of Cartography Chicago Univ of Chicago Press Kim Lawrence 2007 The Portrait of Homer in Strabo s Geography Classical Philology 102 4 363 388 Kuin Inger N I 2017 Rewriting Family History Strabo and the Mithridatic Wars Phoenix 71 1 2 102 118 Pfuntner Laura 2017 Death and Birth in the Urban Landscape Strabo on Troy and Rome Classical Antiquity 36 1 33 51 Pothecary Sarah 1999 Strabo the Geographer His Name and its Meaning Mnemosyne 4th ser 52 6 691 704 Richards G C 1941 Strabo The Anatolian who Failed of Roman Recognition Greece and Rome 10 29 79 90 External links Edit Media related to Strabo at Wikimedia Commons Quotations related to Strabo at Wikiquote Greek Wikisource has original text related to this article Strabwn Geography Loeb Classical Library H L Jones translation Works by Strabo at Perseus Digital Library Biography of Strabo Works by Strabo at Project Gutenberg Map of the Toponyms in the Geography of Strabo Works by or about Strabo at Internet Archive Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Strabo amp oldid 1052398432, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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