Eratosthenes' "Geography"

Princeton University Press
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This is the first modern edition and first English translation of one of the earliest and most important works in the history of geography, the third-century Geographika of Eratosthenes. In this work, which for the first time described the geography of the entire inhabited world as it was then known, Eratosthenes of Kyrene (ca. 285-205 BC) invented the discipline of geography as we understand it. A polymath who served as librarian at Alexandria and tutor to the future King Ptolemy IV, Eratosthenes created the terminology of geography, probably including the word geographia itself. Building on his previous work, in which he determined the size and shape of the earth, Eratosthenes in the Geographika created a grid of parallels and meridians that linked together every place in the world: for the first time one could figure out the relationship and distance between remote localities, such as northwest Africa and the Caspian Sea. The Geographika also identified some four hundred places, more than ever before, from Thoule (probably Iceland) to Taprobane (Sri Lanka), and from well down the coast of Africa to Central Asia.

This is the first collation of the more than 150 fragments of the Geographika in more than a century. Each fragment is accompanied by an English translation, a summary, and commentary. Duane W. Roller provides a rich background, including a history of the text and its reception, a biography of Eratosthenes, and a comprehensive account of ancient Greek geographical thought and of Eratosthenes' pioneering contribution to it. This edition also includes maps that show all of the known places named in the Geographika, appendixes, a bibliography, and indexes.

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About the author

Duane W. Roller is professor emeritus of Greek and Latin at Ohio State University. He is the author of, among other books, Through the Pillars of Herakles: Greco-Roman Exploration of the Atlantic.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jan 4, 2010
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781400832217
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / General
History / Ancient / Greece
History / Historical Geography
Science / Earth Sciences / Geography
Science / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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From the Hardcover edition.
Eratosthenes
'Athena seized the writhing serpent and hurled it into the sky, and fixed it to the very pole of the heavens.' The constellations we recognize today were first mapped by the ancient Greeks, who arranged the stars into patterns for that purpose. In the third century BC Eratosthenes compiled a handbook of astral mythology in which the constellations were associated with figures from legend, and myths were provided to explain how each person, creature, or object came to be placed in the sky. Thus we can see Heracles killing the Dragon, and Perseus slaying the sea-monster to save Andromeda; Orion chases the seven maidens transformed by Zeus into the Pleiades, and Aries, the golden ram, is identified flying up to the heavens. This translation brings together the later summaries from Eratosthenes' lost handbook with a guide to astronomy compiled by Hyginus, librarian to Augustus. Together with Aratus's astronomical poem the Phaenomena, these texts provide a complete collection of Greek astral myths; imaginative and picturesque, they also offer an intriguing insight into ancient science and culture. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
Eratosthenes
'Athena seized the writhing serpent and hurled it into the sky, and fixed it to the very pole of the heavens.' The constellations we recognize today were first mapped by the ancient Greeks, who arranged the stars into patterns for that purpose. In the third century BC Eratosthenes compiled a handbook of astral mythology in which the constellations were associated with figures from legend, and myths were provided to explain how each person, creature, or object came to be placed in the sky. Thus we can see Heracles killing the Dragon, and Perseus slaying the sea-monster to save Andromeda; Orion chases the seven maidens transformed by Zeus into the Pleiades, and Aries, the golden ram, is identified flying up to the heavens. This translation brings together the later summaries from Eratosthenes' lost handbook with a guide to astronomy compiled by Hyginus, librarian to Augustus. Together with Aratus's astronomical poem the Phaenomena, these texts provide a complete collection of Greek astral myths; imaginative and picturesque, they also offer an intriguing insight into ancient science and culture. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
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