See also:born at
See also:Amasia in
See also:Pontus, a city which had been much Hellenized, and was the royal residence of the
See also:kings of Pontus . We know nothing of his
See also:family, but several of his
See also:mother's relatives held important posts under
See also:Mithradates V. and VI . Some were of Hellenic, others of
See also:Asiatic origin, but
See also:Strabo himself was by language and
See also:education thoroughly Greek . The date of his
See also:birth cannot be exactly determined, but from various indications in his
See also:work it seems to have been about 63 E.C . He studied at Nysa under the grammarian
See also:Aristodemus, under Tyrannio the grammarian at Rome, under the philosopher Xenarchus either at Rome or at Alexandria, and he had studied Aristotle along with
See also:Boethus (possibly at Rome under Tyrannio, who had
See also:access to the Aristotelian writings in Sulla's library) . He states that he saw P . Servilius Isauricus, who died at Rome in advanced years in 44 B.C., from which it has been inferred that he visited Rome early in
See also:life . He also tells us that he was at Gyaros (one of the
See also:Cyclades) when
See also:Augustus was at Corinth on his return to Rome from the East in 29 E.c., and that he accompanied the
See also:prefect of
See also:Egypt, Aelius
See also:Gallus, on his expedition"to Upper Egypt, which seems to have taken place in 25–24 B.C . These are the only
See also:dates in his life which can be accurately fixed . The latest event mentioned in his work is the
See also:death of Juba,
See also:king of
See also:Mauretania, which took place in A.D . 21 . Although he had seen a comparatively small portion of the regions which he describes, he had travelled much .
As he states himself: " Westward I have journeyed to the parts of
See also:Etruria opposite
See also:Sardinia; towards the south from the Euxine to the
See also:borders of Ethiopia; and perhaps not one of those who have written geographies has visited more places than I have between those limits." He tells us that he had seen Egypt as far south as Syene and
See also:Philae, Comana in
See also:Cappadocia, Ephesus, Mylasa, Nysa and
See also:Hierapolis in
See also:Phrygia, Gyarus and Populonia . Of
See also:Greece proper he saw but little; it is by no means certain that he even visited Athens, and though he describes Corinth as an
See also:eye-witness, it is clear that he was never at
See also:Delphi, and was not aware that the ruins of
See also:Mycenae still existed . He had seen
See also:Cyrene from the
See also:sea, probably on his voyage from
See also:Puteoli to Alexandria, where he remained a long
See also:time, probably amassing materials, and studying astronomy and
See also:mathematics . For nowhere could he have had a better means of consulting the
See also:works of historians, geographers and astronomers, such as Eratosthenes,
See also:Hipparchus and
See also:Apollodorus . We cannot tell where his Geography was written, but it was at least finally revised between A.U . 17 and 23, since we have
See also:historical allusions which can be dated to that time . Probably Strabo was then in Rome; the fact that his work passed unnoticed by
See also:Roman writers such as the elder Pliny does not prove the contrary . Works.—His earliest writing was an historical work now lost, which he himself describes as his Historical
See also:Memoirs: He tells us (xi . 9, 3) that the
See also:book of the Memoirs was identical with the second of the Continuation of
See also:Polybius; probably, therefore, books i.-iv. formed an introduction to the
See also:main work . This accounts for the fact that he speaks (ii . 70) of having treated of the exploits of
See also:Alexander in his Memoirs, a topic which could not have found a place in a work which began where that of Polybius ended (146 B.C.) . According to Suidas, the continuation of Polybius was in
See also:forty-three books .
Plutarch, who calls him " the Philosopher," quotes Strabo's Memoirs (Luc . 28), and cites him as an historian (Sulla, 26).
See also:josephus, who constantly calls him " the Cappadocian," often quotes from him, but does not mention the title of the work . The Geography is the most important work on that science which antiquity has
See also:left us . It was, as far as we know, the first attempt to collect all the
See also:geographical knowledge at the time attainable, and to compose a general
See also:treatise on geography . It is not merely a new edition of Eratosthenes . In general outline it follows necessarily the work of the last-named geographer, who had first laid down a scientific basis for geography . Strabo made considerable alterations, but not always for the better . The three books of the older work formed a strictly technical geographical treatise . Its small
See also:size prevented it from containing any such general description of
See also:separate countries as Strabo rightly conceived to fall within the
See also:scope of the geographer . " Strabo indeed appears to bee the first who conceived a
See also:complete geographical treatise as comprisin the four divisions of mathematical,
See also:political and historical geography, and he endeavoured, however imperfectly, to keep all these
See also:objects in view." The incidental historical notices, which are often of
See also:great value and
See also:interest, are all his own . These digressions at times interrupt the symmetry of his plan; but Strabo had all the Greek love of legendary lore, and he discusses the journeyings of' Heracles as earnestly as if they were events within
See also:history . He regarded
See also:Homer as the source of all wisdom and knowledgeindeed, his description of Greece is largely
See also:drawn from Apollodorus's commentary on the Homeric "
See also:Catalogue of
See also:Ships "—and treated
See also:Herodotus with undeserved contempt. classing him with
See also:Ctesias and other " marvel-mongers." Yet in some respects Herodotus had better information (e.g. in regard to the
See also:Caspian) than Strabo him-self .
Again, Strabo may be censured for discarding the statements of
See also:Pytheas resPecting the west and
See also:north of
See also:Europe, accepted as they had been by Eratosthenes . But in this he relied on Polybius, whom he might justly consider as having from his position at Rome far better means of gaining accurate information . It must be admitted that the statements of Pytheas did not
See also:accord with the theory of Strabo just in those very points where he was at variance with Eratosthenes . He showed likewise an unwarranted scepticism in reference to the
See also:island of Cerne on the west
See also:coast of Africa, which without doubt the Carthaginians had long used as an emporium . Strabo chiefly employed Greek authorities (the Alexandrian geographers Polybius, Posidonius and
See also:Theophanes of Mytilene, the
See also:companion of
See also:Pompey) and made comparatively little use of Roman authorities . Although he refers to Caesar's Commentaries once by name, and evidently made use of them in other passages, he but imperfectly availed himself of that work . He designed his geography as a sequel to his historical writings, and it had as it were grown out of his historical materials, which were chiefly Greek . Moreover Strabo probably amassed his material in the library of Alexandria, so that Greek authorities would naturally furnish the great bulk of his collections . Doubtless, however, he returned to Rome after a long sojourn in Alexandria, a fact which explains the defectiveness of his information about the countries, to the east of his native
See also:land, and renders it possible for him to have made use of the " choregraphy " of Agrippa, a map of the Roman
See also:Empire and adjacent countries set up by
See also:order of Augustus in'the Porticus Vipsaniae . He designed the work for the statesman rather than for the student . He therefore endeavours to give a general
See also:sketch of the character, physical peculiarities and natural productions of each
See also:country, and consequently gives us much valuable information respecting
See also:trade and metallurgy . It was almost necessary that he should select what he thought most important for description, and at times omit what we deem of more importance .
With respect to physical geography; his work is a great advance on all preceding ones . Judged by
See also:standards, his description of the direction of
See also:rivers and
See also:mountain-chains seems defective, but
See also:allowance must be made for difficulties in procuring information, and for want of accurate
See also:instruments . In respect of mathematical geography, his lack of scientific training was no great hindrance . He had before him the results of Eratosthenes, Hipparchus and Posidonius . The chief conclusions of astronomers concerning the spherical figure and dimensions of the
See also:earth, its relation to the heavenly bodies, and the great circles of the globe—the equator, the
See also:ecliptic and the tropics—were considered as well established . He accepted also the division into five zones; he quotes approvingly the assertion of Hipparchus that it was impossible to make real advances in geography without astronomical observations for determining latitudes and longitudes . The work consists of seventeen books, of which the seventh is imperfect . The first two are
See also:introductory, the next eight
See also:deal with Europe (two being devoted to Spain and Gaul, two to Italy and
See also:Sicily, one to the north and east of Europe, and three to Greek lands): The
See also:eleventh book treats of the main divisions of
See also:Asia and the more easterly districts, the next three of Asia Minor . Book xv. deals with India and
See also:Persia, book xv with
See also:Assyria, Babylonia,
See also:Syria and
See also:Arabia, and the closing book with Egypt and Africa .
See also:Editions.—The Aldine (Venice, 1516) was unfortunately based on a very corrupt MS . The first substantial, improvements in the text were due to Casaubon (
See also:Geneva, 1587;
See also:Paris, 162o), whose text remained the basis of subsequent editions till that of Comes (Paris, 1815-1819), who removed many corruptions . The
See also:MSS. were first scientifically collated by Kramer (Berlin, 1844-1852), who demonstrated that
See also:Par .
1397 was the best authority for the first nine books (it contains no more) and Vat . 1329 for the
See also:remainder . Of later editions the most important are those of C .
See also:Muller (Paris, 1853) and Meineke (
See also:Leipzig, 1866–1877) . H . F . Tozer's
See also:volume of selections (
See also:Oxford, 1893) is useful .
See also:Napoleon I., an admirer of Strabo, caused a French
See also:translation of the Geography to be made by Coraes, Letronne and others(Paris 1805–1819) ; Grosskurd's German translation(Berlin, 1831–1834), with notes, is a monumental work.- The fragments of the Historical . Memoirs have been edited by P .
See also:Otto (Leipsiger Studien XI, 1891); see also Muller's . Fragmenta historicorum graecorum, iii . 490 sqq .
Bunbury's History of
See also:Ancient Geography, vol. ii. chs . 21, 22 ; and F .
See also:Dubois's Examen de la geographie de Strabon (Paris, 1891) should also be consulted . (H . S .
JOHN STRACHAN (1778–1867)
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