Billeder på siden

senia, Laconia, Argolis, Corinthia with Sicyonia, Achaia, and Arcadia: the 9th, Attica, with Megaris, Bæotia, Phocis, both Locri and Thessaly: the roth, Eubea, Ætolia, and Acarnania, with the islands. After a long digression on the subject of the Curetes, the description of Europe closes with some account of Crete and the islands of the Ægean Sea. The design and construction of these three books differ considerably from the preceding. Homer is adopted as the foundation of his geographical descriptions; some things Strabo must have learnt as an eye-witness, but more from vivâ voce communications at Athens or at Corinth. All is interwoven together without any clear line of separation, and the result is some confusion. Athens, Corinth, Argos, and their neighbourhood, were the only parts of Greece our author saw. Heeren, indeed, maintains that he had seen the whole of it, and the Archipelago, but satisfactory proof of this is altogether wanting.

The 11th book commences with the description of the countries separated from Europe by the Tanaïs or Don. Asia is divided by our author (who here follows Eratosthenes) into two parts by the Taurus, which runs in a direction east and west. The northern part of Asia (or this side Taurus ) is divided into four parts. The first part comprises the countries lying between the Don, the Sea of Azoff, the Euxine, and the Caspian; the second, the countries east of the Caspian; and the third, the countries south of Caucasus. These three parts of the first or northern division of Asia are contained in the roth book; the remaining fourth part occupies the 12th, 13th, and 14th books.

The chief authorities for the first part are, besides information obtained from travellers and merchants at Amasia, Herodotus for the Don; Artemidorus and Eratosthenes for distances; Poseidonius and Theophanes of Mitylene, historians, of the Mithridatic war; Metrodorus of Skepsis; Hypsicrates of Amisus; and Cleitarchus for the digression on the Amazons.

For the second part, are principally Patrocles and Aristobulus, historians of the Asiatic campaigns of Alexander. For the third part, or Media and Armenia, are, Dellius, who wrote


a history of the war against the Parthians, in which he had served under Antony; Apollonides of Nicæa, who wrote a Periplus of Europe; and other writers before mentioned.

The 12th book commences with a detailed account of Anatolia, and contains the northern part. It was to have been expected that Strabo would have described most of these countries as an eye-witness, lying, as they do, so near his native country Cappadocia. But this expectation vanishes, when we discover the meagreness of his account. With the exception of Pontus and Cappadocia, he had seen little of the rest, and depends upon historians and oral information. For earlier times, his authorities are Herodotus, Hellanicus, Theopompus, Ephorus, Artemidorus, Apollodorus, and Demetrius of Skepsis; for later times, historians of the wars of Mithridates and Pompey. For the ancient history of the Mysians and Phrygians, he is indebted to the celebrated Lydian historian Xanthus, and Menecrates.

The 13th book contains the description of Anatolia. The greater part of the book is occupied with a dissertation on the Troad. Strabo had travelled over the country himself, but his great authority is Homer and Demetrius of Skepsis, the author of a work in twenty-six books, containing an historical and geographical commentary on that part of the second book of the Iliad, in which the forces of the Trojans are enumerated. A learned digression on the Leleges, Cilices, and Pelasgi, who preceded the Æolians and Ionians in the occupation of the country, is principally taken from Menecrates and Demetrius of Skepsis. The description then turns to the interior, and

. the account of the Æolian cities is probably due to Poseidonius. Throughout this book are evidences of great care and desire for accuracy.

The 14th book continues with the remainder of Anatolia, and an account of the islands Samos, Chios, Rhodes, and Cyprus. The authorities followed are, on the whole, the same as in the previous book-Herodotus, Thucydides, Ephorus, Artemidorus, Eratosthenes, and Poseidonius; besides Pherecydes of Syros, who wrote on the Ionian migration, and Anaximenes of Lampsacus, the author of a history in Greek of the Milesian colonies. For Caria, he had the historians of Alexander

and an author named Philip, who wrote on the Leleges and Carians. For Cyprus he had Damastes and Eratosthenes.

The 15th and 16th books contain a description of the second portion of Asia, namely, the southern or the other side of Taurus. In the 15th book, Strabo describes India and Persia, the latter in two chief divisions, viz. Ariana or East Persia, and Persis or West Persia. These countries Strabo never saw; his description, therefore, is founded on the authority of travellers and historians. The topography of India is meagre, and limited to a few towns and rivers; but his account of the people of the country is more copious, he being supplied with materials from the historians of Alexander and of the campaigns of Seleucus in India. He looks on Megasthenes, Onesicritus, Deïmachus, and Cleitarchus as fabulous writers: but his confidence rests chiefly on Patrocles, Aristobulus (one of the companions and historians of Alexander), and Nearchus, the chief commander of Alexander's fleet. Artemidorus and Nicolaus of Damascus are occasionally consulted. For Ariana or East Persia, he had for his principal authority Eratosthenes; and for Persia Proper, he had, besides the above authors, Herodotus, Xenophon, and Polycletus of Larissa, an historian of Alexander.

In the 16th book, he describes the westerly half of south Asia, viz. Assyria with Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Phænicia, and Palestine, the Persian and Arabian Gulfs, the coast of Ethiopia, and lastly, Arabia. For the three first countries (the old Assyrian kingdom), his chief authorities are, besides some of Alexander's historians, Eratosthenes, Poseidonius, and Herodotus; for the remainder he had, in addition to the same writers, Artemidorus, and probably also Nicolaus of Damascus. The account of Moses and the Jews, Heeren surmises, comes from Poseidonius, but it probably proceeds from oral communication had in Egypt; of these countries our author could describe nothing as an eye-witness, except the northwest of Syria. The accounts of Arabia, the Indian and the Red Seas, are from Agatharchides; and much that he describes of Arabia was obtained from his friends, Ælius Gallus and the Stoic, Athenodorus.

The 17th book concludes the work with the description of


Egypt, Ethiopia, and the north coast of Africa. Strabo had travelled through the whole of Egypt, as far as Syene and Philæ, and writes with the decided tone of an eye-witness. Much verbal information, also, he collected at Alexandria. His most important written authorities are, for the Nile, Eratosthenes (who borrowed from Aristotle), Eudoxus, and

, Aristo. For the most remarkable events of Egyptian history, he had Polybius, and for later times probably Poseidonius, besides vivâ voce accounts.

For the oracle at Ammon, he had the historians of Alexander; for Ethiopia, the accounts of Petronius, who had carried on war there, Agatharchides, and Herodotus. Of Libya of Africa Proper he had nothing new or authentic to say. Besides Eratosthenes, Artemidorus, and Poseidonius, his chief authorities, he had Iphicrates, who wrote on the plants and animals of Libya. The whole concludes with a short notice of the Roman Empire.

The codices or manuscripts which exist of Strabo's work appear to be copies of a single manuscript existing in the middle ages, but now lost. From the striking agreement of errors and omissions in all now extant (with such differences only as can be accounted for, arising from the want of ability or carelessness of the copyist), it appears most probable that to this single manuscript we are indebted for the preservation of the work. Strabo himself describes the carelessness of bad scribes both at Rome and Alexandria, in the following expressive language: “Some vendors of books, also, employed bad scribes and neglected to compare the copies with the originals. This happens in the case of other books, which are copied for sale both here and at Alexandria.”



If the scientific investigation of any subject be the proper avocation of the philosopher, Geography, the science of which we propose to treat, is certainly entitled to a high place; and this is evident from many considerations. They who first ventured to handle the matter were distinguished men. Homer, Anaximander the Milesian, and Hecatæus, (his fellow-citizen according to Eratosthenes,) Democritus, Eudoxus, Dicæarchus, Ephorus, with many others, and after these Eratosthenes, Polybius, and Posidonius, all of them philosophers.

Nor is the great learning, through which alone this subject can be approached, possessed by any but a person acquainted with both human and divine things, and these attainments constitute what is called philosophy. In addition to its vast importance in regard to social life, and the art of government, Geography unfolds to us the celestial phenomena, acquaints us with the occupants of the land and ocean, and the vegetation, fruits, and peculiarities of the various quarters of the earth, a knowledge of which marks him who cultivates it as a man earnest in the great problem of life and happiness.

Admitting this, let us examine more in detail the points we have advanced.

And first, we maintain, that both we and our predecessors, amongst whom is Hipparchus, do justly regard Homer as the founder of geographical science, for he not only excelled all, ancient as well as modern, in the sublimity of his poetry, but also in his experience of social life. Thus it was that he not only exerted himself to become familiar with as many historic facts as possible, and transmit them to posterity, but also with the various regions of the inhabited land and sea, some intimately, others in a more general manner. For otherwise he would not have reached the utmost limits of the earth, traversing it in his imagination.

« ForrigeFortsæt »