A traveler and student, Strabo learned from some of the ancient world’s best teachers, and quickly became a respected scholar himself. When he wasn’t writing or studying in Rome, he traveled to Egypt, Kush, Tuscany, Ethiopia, and Asia Minor. If he couldn’t experience something firsthand, he learned about it from those who had. With such a wealth of education and experience, Strabo had the tools to understand geography like no one before him. His work diverged from the mathematical approach used by his predecessors. He preferred a descriptive approach for people more interested in anthropology. The fruits of his labors, The Geography, provides modern readers with a valuable perspective on the ancient world.
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, scholars questioned the reliability of another Roman geographer, Pausanias, and his Description of Greece. Along with geography, he included descriptions of Greek culture, lore, and art. Pausianas demonstrated the value of firsthand experience when, nearly two millenia after he wrote about his travels, archaeologists used his writings to guide their excavation of historical Greek sites.
This collection contains the complete texts in their Loeb Classical Library editions. Each text is included in its original Greek, with an English translation for easy side-by-side comparison. Logos’ language tools help you to go deeper into the Greek text and explore the geographers’ elegant language. Use the dictionary lookup tool to examine difficult Greek words and find every appearance of the same word in your library. Students of history, anthropology, and geography will enjoy these works and appreciate their significance.
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. . . Strabo rejects [the theory of Strato] as insufficient to account for all the [geographical] phenomena, and he proposes one of his own, the profoundness of which modern geologists are only beginning to appreciate.
—Charles Lyell, geologist, influential friend of Charles Darwin, and author of Principles of Geology
A careful, pedestrian writer, [Pausanias] is interested not only in the grandiose or the exquisite but in unusual sights and obscure ritual . . . his honesty is unquestionable and his value without par.
—Andrew Stewart, professor of Greek studies, art history, and classics, University of California, Berkeley
Strabo (c. 64 BC–AD 24) was a Greek geographer, philosopher, and historian. He was born in Amaseia, in Pontus, near the Black Sea. Highly educated, he was taught by many gifted scholars. He studied rhetoric under Aristodemus and philosophy under the well-known tutor Peripatetic Xenarchus, as well as Athenodorus Cananites, and he learned grammar and geography from Tyrannion of Amisus. Many other teachers contributed to Strabo’s education, and he drew from his strong education to develop his own extraordinary geographical ideas, many of which are expressed in his most famous work, The Geography. While Strabo’s travels allowed him to experience many places first-hand, his learned teachers taught him about the places he couldn’t see himself. His other well-known work, Historical Sketches, is almost completely lost. Only a piece of papyrus remains of it, but the work is referred to by Strabo and other classical authors.
Pausanias (c. AD 110–180) was a Greek traveler and geographer. His work, Description of Greece, provides a vital connection between classic literature and archaeology through firsthand observations about ancient Greece. He takes care to describe Greek architecture, art, culture, and lore, and occasionally describes landscapes and wildlife as well. His works were nearly lost, until it became clear to twentieth-century archaeologists that his writings were both relevant and useful to their excavations of historical sites in Greece.