Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
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Perception and experience alike inform us, that the earth we inhabit is an island: since wherever men have approached the termination of the land, the sea, which we designate ocean, has been met with: and reason assures us of the similarity of those places which our senses have not been permitted to survey. For in the east [Note] the land occupied by the Indians, and in the west by the Iberians and Maurusians, [Note] is wholly encompassed [by water], and so is the greater part on the south [Note] and north. [Note] And as to what remains as yet unexplored by us, because navigators, sailing from opposite points, have not hitherto fallen in with each other, it is not much, as any one may see who will compare the distances between those places with which we are already acquainted. Nor is it likely that the Atlantic Ocean is divided into two seas by narrow isthmuses so placed as to prevent circumnavigation: how much more probable that it is confluent and uninterrupted! Those who have returned from an attempt to circumnavigate

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the earth, do not say they have been prevented from con- tinuing their voyage by any opposing continent, for the sea remained perfectly open, but through want of resolution, and the scarcity of provision. This theory too accords better with the ebb and flow of the ocean, for the phenomenon, both in the increase and diminution, is every where identical, or at all events has but little difference, as if produced by the agitation of one sea, and resulting from one cause. 1.1.9

We must not credit Hipparchus, who combats this opinion, denying that the ocean is every where similarly affected; or that even if it were, it would not follow that the Atlantic flowed in a circle, and thus continually returned into itself. Seleucus, the Babylonian, is his authority for this assertion. For a further investigation of the ocean and its tides we refer to Posidonius and Athenodorus, who have fully discussed this subject: we will now only remark that this view agrees better with the uniformity of the phenomenon; and that the greater the amount of moisture surrounding the earth, the easier would the heavenly bodies be supplied with vapours from thence. 1.1.10

Homer, besides the boundaries of the earth, which he fully describes, was likewise well acquainted with the Mediterranean. Starting from the Pillars, [Note] this sea is encompassed by Libya, Egypt, and Phoenicia, then by the coasts opposite Cyprus, the Solymi, [Note] Lycia, and Caria, and then by the shore which stretches between Mycale [Note] and Troas, and the adjacent islands, every one of which he mentions, as well as those of the Propontis [Note] and the Euxine, as far as Colchis, and the locality of Jason's expedition. Furthermore, he was acquainted with the Cimmerian Bosphorus, [Note] having known the Cimmerians, [Note] and that not merely by name, but as being familiar with themselves. About his time, or a little before, they had ravaged the whole country, from the Bos-

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phorus to Ionia. Their climate he characterizes as dismal, in the following lines:— With clouds and darkness veil'd, on whom the sun
Deigns not to look with his beam-darting eye,
But sad night canopies the woeful race. [Note]
Odyssey xi. 15 and 19.
He must also have been acquainted with the Ister, [Note] since he speaks of the Mysians, a Thracian race, dwelling on the banks of the Ister. He knew also the whole Thracian [Note] coast adjacent thereto, as far as the Peneus, [Note] for he mentions individually the Pæonians, Athos, the Axius, [Note] and the neighbouring islands. From hence to Thesprotis [Note] is the Grecian shore, with the whole of which he was acquainted. He was besides familiar with the whole of Italy, and speaks of Te- mese [Note] and the Sicilians, as well as the whole of Spain [Note] and its fertility, as we have said before. If he omits various intermediate places this must be pardoned, for even the compiler of a Geography overlooks numerous details. We must forgive him too for intermingling fabulous narrative with his historical and instructive work. This should not be complained of; nevertheless, what Eratosthenes says is false, that the poets aim at amusement, not instruction, since those who have treated upon the subject most profoundly, regard poesy in the light of a primitive philosophy. But we shall refute Eratosthenes [Note]

more at length, when we have occasion again to speak of Homer.

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What we have already advanced is sufficient to prove that poet the father of geography. Those who followed in

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his track are also well known as great men and true philosophers. The two immediately succeeding Homer, according

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to Eratosthenes, were Anaximander, the disciple and fellow- citizen of Thales, and Hecatæus the Milesian. Anaximander

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was the first to publish a geographical chart. Hecatæus left a work [on the same subject], which we can identify as his by means of his other writings.

Strabo, Geography (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Str.].
<<Str. 1.1.7 Str. 1.1.10 (Greek English(2)) >>Str. 1.1.15

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