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Strabo

Strabo (strāˈbō) [key], b. c.63 B.C., d. after A.D. 21, Greek geographer, historian, and philosopher, b. Amasya, Pontus. He studied in Asia Minor, Greece, Rome, and Alexandria and traveled in Europe, N Africa, and W Asia. Primarily a historian, he wrote a group of historical sketches (47 books) quoted by later authors but almost entirely lost. His Geographia, written subsequently, is based on his own observations and on the works of his predecessors, including Homer, Eratosthenes, Polybius, and Posidonius; it contains historical material as well as descriptions of places and peoples and is a rich source of ancient knowledge of the world. Its value is uneven, in great part because Strabo attributed to Homer an accurate knowledge of places and peoples mentioned in his epics and because he virtually disregarded Herodotus' information, which was often firsthand. The Geographia (extant except for part of the 7th book) is divided into 17 books: 2 introductory (largely a discussion of the definition and scope of geography), 8 on Europe, 6 on Asia, and one on Africa, mainly Egypt. Although a Latin translation appeared in 1472, the first printed edition in the original Greek was the Aldine (1516). There are numerous modern editions and translations.

See the Loeb Classical Library edition, The Geography of Strabo (ed. by H. L. Jones, 8 vol., 1917–32), with an introduction on his life and works.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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