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Strabo[1] (/ˈstreɪboʊ/; Greek: Στράβων Strábōn; 64 or 63 BC – c. AD 24) was a Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian who lived in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
during the transitional period of the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
into the Roman Empire.

Contents

1 Life 2 Education 3 Geographica 4 Geology 5 Editions 6 Notes 7 References 8 Sources 9 External links

Life[edit]

Title page from Isaac Casaubon's 1620 edition of Geographica

Strabo
Strabo
was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus (modern Amasya, Turkey),[2] a city that he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea. Pontus had recently fallen to the Roman Republic, and although politically he was a proponent of Roman imperialism, Strabo
Strabo
belonged on his mother's side to a prominent family whose members had held important positions under the previous resisting regime of King Mithridates VI of Pontus.[n 1]

Strabo
Strabo
as depicted in the Nuremberg Chronicle

Strabo's life was characterized by extensive travels. He journeyed to Egypt
Egypt
and Kush, as far west as coastal Tuscany
Tuscany
and as far south as Ethiopia
Ethiopia
in addition to his travels in Asia Minor
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
Augustus
(27 BC – AD 14). He moved to Rome
Rome
in 44 BC, and stayed there, studying and writing, until at least 31 BC. In 29 BC, on his way to Corinth
Corinth
(where Augustus
Augustus
was at the time), he visited the island of Gyaros
Gyaros
in the Aegean Sea. Around 25 BC, he sailed up the Nile
Nile
until reaching Philae,[n 2] after which point there is little record of his proceedings until AD 17.

Statue of Strabo
Strabo
in his hometown (modern-day Amasya, Turkey), beside the Iris (Yeşilırmak) River

It is not known precisely when Strabo's Geography
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,[3] others around AD 17[4] or 18.[3] 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".[5] He probably worked on the Geography
Geography
for many years and revised it steadily, not always consistently. It is an encyclopaedical chronicle and consists of political, economic, social, cultural, geographic description of almost whole Europe: British Isles, Iberian Peninsula, Gaul, Germania, The Alps, Italy, Greece; and Northern Black Sea
Black Sea
region, Anatolia, Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa. The Geography
Geography
is the only extant work providing information about both Greek and Roman peoples and countries during the reign of Augustus.[6] On the presumption that "recently" means within a year, Strabo
Strabo
stopped writing that year or the next (AD 24 ), when he died. He was influenced by Homer, Hecateaus, and Aristotle. [7]The first of Strabo's major works, Historical Sketches (Historica hypomnemata), written while he was in Rome
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
Strabo
quotes it himself and other classical authors mention that it existed, although the only surviving document is a fragment of papyrus now in possession of the University of Milan (renumbered [Papyrus] 46). Education[edit] Strabo
Strabo
studied under several prominent teachers of various specialties throughout his early life[n 3] at different stops along his Mediterranean travels. His first chapter of education took place in Nysa (modern Sultanhisar, Turkey) under the master of rhetoric Aristodemus, who had formerly taught the sons of the very same Roman general who had taken over Pontus.[8][n 4] Aristodemus was the head of two schools of rhetoric and grammar, one in Nysa and one in Rhodes, the former of the two cities possessing a distinct intellectual curiosity of Homeric literature and the interpretation of epics. Strabo
Strabo
was an admirer of Homer's poetry, perhaps a consequence of his time spent in Nysa with Aristodemus.[n 5] At around the age of 21, Strabo
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 obviously significant, considering Strabo's future contributions to the field. The final noteworthy mentor to Strabo
Strabo
was Athenodorus Cananites, a philosopher who had spent his life since 44 BC in Rome
Rome
forging relationships with the Roman elite. Athenodorus endowed to Strabo three important items: his philosophy, his knowledge, and his contacts. Unlike the Aristotelian Xenarchus
Xenarchus
and Tyrannion who preceded him in teaching Strabo, Athenodorus was Stoic in mindset, 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
Strabo
with information about regions of the empire which he would not otherwise have known. Geographica[edit] Main article: Geographica

Map of the world according to Strabo.

Strabo
Strabo
is most notable for his work Geographica
Geographica
("Geography"), which presented a descriptive history of people and places from different regions of the world known to his era.[5]

Map of Europe according to Strabo.

Although the Geographica
Geographica
was rarely utilized in its contemporary antiquity, a multitude of copies survived throughout the Byzantine Empire. It first appeared in Western Europe in Rome
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
Strabo
cited the antique Greek astronomers Eratosthenes
Eratosthenes
and Hipparchus, acknowledging their astronomical and mathematical efforts towards 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. As such, Geographica
Geographica
provides a valuable source of information on the ancient world, especially when this information is corroborated by other sources. He traveled 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."[10] We do not know when he wrote the Geography, but we know that he spent a lot of time in the famous library taking notes from his sources and his "the works of his predecessors" are most likely to have been noted at the library there. A first edition was published in 7 BC and a final edition no later than 23 AD, in the last year of Strabo's life. The Geography, unfortunately, had an infinitesimal influence in his lifetime. It took about five years for scholars to give him a credit and for it to become a standard. [11] In his last book of Geographica, he wrote quite extensively about the thriving port city of Alexandria. He emphasized that the harbor was well-encompassed by the embankments and that the shore was so deep-watered that even the largest ships could traverse. These ships were sent out to India, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
to supply them with products. Strabo juxtaposes Dichaiarchia (Naples- one of the largest ports in Europe) and Alexandria ports and says that the ships in Alexandria were clearly bigger. Thus, freight transporting and shipping were essential to foreign trade in products from all over the world, suggesting a highly developed local economy at that time.[12] Strabo
Strabo
also describes the city itself. According to him, there were a lot of beautiful public parks and the city was reticulated with perfectly designed streets that were 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.”[13] Hence, the architecture was also developed in Egypt.

Strabo
Strabo
is pro-Roman politically, but culturally he reserves primacy to Greece:[14] "... 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
Rome
in other contexts." In India, Strabo
Strabo
described small flying reptiles that were 90 centimeters (3 ft) long with a snake-like body and bat-like wings. Other historians, such as Herodotus, Aristotle, and Flavius Josephus, mentioned similar creatures. Geology[edit] As quoted from Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology:

Strabo... enters largely, in the Second Book of his Geography, into the opinions of Eratosthenes
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
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
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.[15]

The very first written definition/discussion on the fossil formation (mentioning Nummulite
Nummulite
quoted from A.M. 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 (Amasia), there is a long hill in a plain, which abounds with pebbles of a porus 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.[16] The very first written definition/discussion of volcanism (Effusive eruption) observed at Katakekaumenē (modern Kula, Western Turkey) until Pliny the Younger
Pliny the Younger
witnessed to the eruption of Vesuvius
Vesuvius
on 24 August AD 79 in Pompeii:

Karadivlit Scoria
Scoria
Cone and AA type basaltic fissure lava flow in Katakekaumenē (modern-day Kula, Turkey).

…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 color as if the mountainous and rocky country was made up of fires. Some assume that these ashes were the result of thunderbolts and sub-terranean explosions, and do not doubt that the legendary story of Typhon
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”)”[17]

Editions[edit]

Meineke, Augustus, ed. (1877). Strabonis Geographica. Lipsiae: B.G. Teubneri.  Strabo
Strabo
(1852). Gustav Kramer, ed. Strabonis Geographica. Recens. G. Kramer. Ed. minor. 

Strabo's Geography
Geography
in three volumes as translated by H.C. Hamilton, ed. H.G. Bohn, 1854–1857: vol. 1 vol. 2 vol. 3 (Internet Archive)

Stefan Radt, ed. (2002–2011). Strabons Geographika : mit Übersetzung und Kommentar. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.  Jones, H. L., transl. (1917). The Geography
Geography
of Strabo. Vol. 1 (Books 1 & 2) of 8 vols. London: Heinemann. 

Notes[edit]

^ Pontus fell to the Roman general Pompey
Pompey
in 63 BC and, after the murder or suicide of Mithridates VI of Pontus (otherwise known as Mithridates the Great), was broken up into smaller provinces in 64 BC. Strabo
Strabo
in Book 12 Chapter 3 Section 41 states that the Romans took possession of Bithynia
Bithynia
"a little before my time", setting the date of his birth to after 63 BC. ^ Accompanied by prefect of Egypt
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.

References[edit]

^ Strabo
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
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." ^ Geography
Geography
Book XII Chapter 3 Section 15, "Amaseia, my fatherland". ^ a b Horace Leonard Jones, translator, The Geography
Geography
of Strabo, Heinemann, London, 1917, p. xxv-xxvi ^ Sarah Pothecary, When was the Geography
Geography
written? ^ a b Strabonis Geographica, Book 17, Chapter 7. ^ https://www.loebclassics.com/view/LCL196/1927/volume.xml ^ https://www.britannica.com/biography/Strabo#ref279367 ^ (see note 3.) ^ Geographie, Band 1, Strabo, S.17, Strabo, Karl Kärcher, Gottlieb Lukas Friedrich Tafel, Christian Nathanael Osiander, Gustav Schwab, Verlag Metzler, 1831. ^ http://www.nndb.com/people/156/000097862/ ^ http://www.enotes.com/topics/strabo/critical-essays#critical-essays-introduction ^ Strabo, Geography
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 ^ Stearns-Davis, William. Readings in Ancient History: Illustrative Extracts from the Sources, 2 Vols., (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1912-1913), Vol. I: Greece and the East, pp. 325-329. ^ Lawrence Kim, Homer
Homer
Between History and Fiction in Imperial Greek Literature, 2010, p83 ^ Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology, 1832, p.20-21 ^ Strabo's Geography, XVII, 34 ^ Strabo's Geography, XIII, 628; XIV, 650.

Sources[edit]

"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
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
Geography
of Strabo: An English Translation, with Introduction and Notes. Cambridge. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Strabo
Strabo
at Wikimedia Commons Quotations related to Strabo
Strabo
at Wikiquote  Greek Wikisource
Wikisource
has original text related to this article: Στράβων Geography
Geography
(Loeb Classical Library, H. L. Jones translation) Biography of Strabo Works by Strabo
Strabo
at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Strabo
Strabo
at Internet Archive

v t e

Ancient Greek astronomy

Astronomers

Aglaonice Agrippa Anaximander Andronicus Apollonius Aratus Aristarchus Aristyllus Attalus Autolycus Bion Callippus Cleomedes Cleostratus Conon Eratosthenes Euctemon Eudoxus Geminus Heraclides Hicetas Hipparchus Hippocrates of Chios Hypsicles Menelaus Meton Oenopides Philip of Opus Philolaus Posidonius Ptolemy Pytheas Seleucus Sosigenes of Alexandria Sosigenes the Peripatetic Strabo Thales Theodosius Theon of Alexandria Theon of Smyrna Timocharis

Works

Almagest
Almagest
(Ptolemy) On Sizes and Distances
On Sizes and Distances
(Hipparchus) On the Sizes and Distances (Aristarchus) On the Heavens
On the Heavens
(Aristotle)

Instruments

Antikythera mechanism Armillary sphere Astrolabe Dioptra Equatorial ring Gnomon Mural instrument Triquetrum

Concepts

Callippic cycle Celestial spheres Circle of latitude Counter-Earth Deferent and epicycle Equant Geocentrism Heliocentrism Hipparchic cycle Metonic cycle Octaeteris Solstice Spherical Earth Sublunary sphere Zodiac

Influences

Babylonian astronomy Egyptian astronomy

Influenced

Medieval European science Indian astronomy Medieval Islamic astronomy

v t e

Amasya
Amasya
District

Capital: Amasya

Townships

Aydınca Doğantepe Ezinepazar Uygur Yassıçal Yeşilyenice Ziyaret

Settlements

Abacı Ağılönü Aksalur Aktaş Akyazı Alakadı Albayrak Ardıçlar Avşar Aydınlık Aydoğdu Bağlarüstü Bağlıca Bayat Beke Beldağı Boğaköy Boğazköy Böke Bulduklu Çatalçam Çavuşköy Çengelkayı Çiğdemlik Çivi Dadıköy Damudere Değirmendere Direkli Doğantepe Duruca Eliktekke Eskikızılca Fındıklı Gökdere Gözlek Halifeli Hasabdal İbecik İlgazi İlyas İpekköy Kaleboğazı Kaleköy Kapıkaya Karaali Karaçavuş Karaibrahim Karakese Karaköprü Karsan Kayabaşı Kayacık Keçili Keşlik Kızılca Kızılkışlacık Kızseki Köyceğiz Küçükkızılca Kutlu Kuzgeçe Mahmatlar Meşeliçiftliğiköyü Musaköy Ormanözü Ortaköy Ovasaray Özfındıklı Saraycık Sarayözü Sarıalan Sarıkız Sarılar Sarımeşe Sarıyar Sazköy Selimiye Sevincer Şeyhsadi Sıracevizler Tatar Toklucak Tuzluçal Tuzsuz Ümük Uygur Vermiş Yağcıabdal Yağmur Yavru Yaylacık Yeşildere Yeşilöz Yeşiltepe Yıkılgan Yıldızköy Yolyanı Yuvacık Yuvaköy Ziyaret

Landmarks

Amasya
Amasya
University Archaeological Museum of Amasya Bayezid II Mosque Burmali Minare Mosque Büyük Aga Medrese Farhad and Shirin Monument Harsene Kalesi İstasyon Bridge Seljuk Burmali Mosque Tombs of the kings of Pontus

History

Amasya
Amasya
Circular Amasya
Amasya
Protocol Amasya
Amasya
trials Central Army Peace of Amasya

Notable people

Strabo Amirdovlat Amasiatsi

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 100219883 LCCN: n80035710 ISNI: 0000 0001 1838 7379 GND: 118618806 SELIBR: 269797 SUDOC: 027150062 BNF: cb11925629v (data) BIBSYS: 90412753 HDS: 10312 NLA: 36017850 NDL: 00475701 NKC: jn19990210586 BNE: XX1110

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