Sir William Smith William Latham Bevan.

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"grassy" and "abounding in wheat" (Od. xvi. 396): the Taphians
occupied a small group of islands between Leucas and Acamarnia.
Lastly, Corcyra is perhaps referred to under the name Scheria, the
residence of the seafaring Phseacians, though these may perhaps be re-
garded as a poetical fiction.

§ 5. The poetical geography of Homer is involved in inextricable
difficulties : it seems as though the poet had received certain scraps
of intelligence from Phoenician navigators as to the western and
northern districts of Europe, and had worked them np into a nar-
rative without any regard to the true position of the localities.
Thus we have the Cimmerians, who really lived in the Crimea,
transported to the extreme west, and again the Plancta?, which
probably represent the SymplegSdes at the mouth of the Thracian
Bosporus, placed near Sicily ; the Argonauts are brought round
from the western -<Eaea to the eastern land of -ffietes : Ulysses is
carried northward an immense distance inside the Ocean mouth,
and returns from Ogygia straight to the shores of Greece. It is
difficult to form any theory which will reduce the narrative to any-
thing like consistency with geographical facts: it has been sug^
gest^ that Homer had received reports of two ocean mouths, one
in the E. (the Straits of Tejiikale), and one in the W. (the Straits
of Qihraitar\md that he transferred to each of them features that
belonged to the other (Gladstone's Homeric Studies, iii. 263) : but
even this theory fails to reduce the narrative to consistency. We


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iherefore restrict ourselves to a brief notice of the localities described
in the wanderings of Ulysses with a notice of anything that serves
to account for the narrative.

Wanderings of 277y«stfs.>- Leaving Troy, he passed by the Cicones in
Thrace, Cape Malea, and the island of Cythera, to the land of the Loto-
phagi in Anica. Henceforth we enter on the realm of fiction : he first
readies the island ^gusa, a reference to the JBgates, but erroneously
placed to the S. instead of W. of Sicily ; he then passes to the land of
the Cyclopes, either on the Bouthem coast of Sicily or in Italy ; it is
termed the "continent" (lirtipos^ which, however, is occasionally
applied to large islands ; Mo\i& (a reference to the ^olian group with
volcanic Stroinboli) was next visited, and then Lecstrygonia, a city in a
land of perpetual day (in reference to the long summer days of
northern climates), generally placed on the northern coast of Sicily :
the island of ^Esea lay near the Ocean mouth, and thence he reaches the
banks of Ocean stream, the land of the Cimmerians, and the entrance
to Hades : he returns to ifisea, passes by the isle of Sirens, the Planet®
" wandering rocks," ' to the W. of Sicily, Scylla, and Charybdis, anu
reaches Thrinacria, which must from its meaning "triangular,'' ^Pply
to Sicily ; thence he is carried fer to the northward to Ogygia, the
"naver* of the sea, the residence of Calypso "the hidden one," and
returns in a south-easterly coiu-se by Soheria to the shores of Greece.

§ 6. In the poenis of Hesiod (about B.C. 735) we find the same
general views as to the earth's form maintained with but slight devi-
tion. The stream of Ocean still surrounds the earth's disk, its
sources being placed in the extreme west The vault of heaven still
rests on the edge of the earth, upborne by Atlas, and as far removed
from the earth in height as Tartarus in depth. Tartarus is repre-
sented as co-extensive with the earth and heaven, and as having its
entrance in the west: the earth was rooted in its unfathomable
depths. Hades is, generally speaking, placed on the surface of the
oarth in the extreme west, although occasionally the idea of a sub-
terranean Hades is still expressed. In experimental knowledge a
considerable advance had been made in the knowledge of the western
countries of Europe, We have notice in Italy of the Tyrrhenians
and of their king Latlnus ; of -^tna and the town of Ortygia (the
later Syracuse) in Sicily, and of the Ligyans in Gaul. The gardens
of the Hesperides, with their golden apples, are located opposite
Atlas, with evident reference to the groves of oranges and citrons in
Spain. In the extreme west are the ** islands of the blest," and in the
place of Homer's Elysium the fabled isle of Erytheia. Hesiod
knows nothing of the Cimmerians, but notices, according to
Herodotus (iv. 32), the Hyperboreans who spent a happy life in the
extreme north-western regions.

* In the later books of the Ody»$ey the names of Sicania (xxir. 807), and of
the SioSi, its inhabitanto (xx. 888, xxir. 211), flrtt appear. Both the Blcani
and BiceU lived at one period on the mainland of Italj, but they had probably
crossed into SicUy before these books were composed.


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Details of Hesiod'a Geography. — Hesiod further notices the rivers
Erid&nuB, on whose banks were the amber-distilling trees, the Ister
in the N., the Phasis in the E., and the Nile in the S., which Homer
had named iEgyptus. The Ethiopians are correctly placed in the S. ;
and the name of Scythians is applied to the Hippemolgi of Homer, one
tribe of whom, named the OtJactophagi, are described as a nomad race.
In Greece itself the names of various localities first appear, among
which we may notice Hellopia, the di&trict about Dodona {Fr. v. 112),
and AbantiB, an ancient name of Eubcea : he also notices the alluvial
deposit which connected the Echinades with the mainland of
Acamania (Strab. i. p. 59).

§ 7. In the poems of -^schylus we find some advance: the
three continents are noticed, Europe being divided from Asia either
by the Phasis, by which he probably means the later Hyp&nis, or
by the Cimmerian Bosporus, and from Libya or Africa by the
Straits of Hercules. The four quarters of the heavens are re-
cognised, east, south, west, and north, ITie mythical element still
appears in the notices of the fountains of the ocean ; of Delphi as
the centre of the earth ; of the ocean encircling the world ; and of
the Ethiopians, both in the extreme east and also in the extreme
west, where he also placed a second Lake of the Sun.

The Wanderings of To, — These cannot be reconciled with real geo-
graphy : it is clear indeed from the writings of .£schylus (^Suppi. 548 ;
comp. Prom, 705) thai he was not carefiu to give even a consistent
story. We will therefore only observe that the Chalybes wei*e pro-
bably the Cimmerians of the Crimen; that the Hybristes may be
either the Don or the Kuban ; that the Amazons must be placed in
Colchis ; and that the Salmydessian Rock refers to the rocks near the
Thracian Boi^porus. According to these notices, lo followed the line
of the Euxine along its eastern and southern coasts : she then crossed
the Thracian Bosporus from Asia to Europe, and followed the Euxine
back to the Cimmerian Bosporus. Sho crossed the Palus Mesdtis into
Asia, and arrived after some wanderings at the Gorgonsean plains of
Cisth&ies in Ethiopia. The Bosporus mentioned in this part of her
course is the so-called Indian Bosporus, at the spot where Asia and
Africa were supposed to be contiguous at their southern extremities.
The Arimaspi of the north are transplanted to this district. From the
Indian Bosporus lo reached the nver ^thiope, probably the upper
part of the Nile, and descended that river by the cataracts down to
the Delta. A considerable advance was made in the knowledge of
eastern countries, as might be expected from the historical events of
the poet's time. We have notice in Asia of the Indians, Susa, Cissia,
Babylon, Ecbatana, Bactria, Syria, and Tyre ; and in Egypt, of the
cataFBcts, the Delta, and the towns Memphis and Canopus.

§ 8. In the writings of Pindar (b.o. 522-442) the same views still
prevail ; he recognises the three continents, and seems to make the
Phasis and the Nile the divisions. Cyr6ne in Africa, Gadeira in
Spain, Cyme in Italy, and various Greek towns in Sicily, are first
noticed in his poems.


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Map of tin Wurld, according to HecaUtm.


§ 1. Causes which led to advanoed knowledge : commerce and coloniza-
tion ; voyages of dincovery ; intellectual actiyity ; historical events.
§ 2. Hecatseus. § 3. Herodotus ; his life and travels. $ 4. His
character as a geographer. § 5. Qenei*al views as to the earth's
form, &c § 6. Physical features. § 7. Political diviBions and
topojcraphy. § 8. Xenophon : the Anabasis. § 9. Ctesias. § 10.
Alexander the Qreat. §11. Extent of his discoveries. §12. Arrian:
histories of Alexander's life.

§ 1. Geographical knowledge made immense progress during the
centuries that elapsed between Homer the first of the poets, and
Herodotus the first of the historians. Nor was it confined simply to
the increased extent of the earth's surface laid open to civilization :
oontemporaneoualy with this there sprung a spirit of scientific


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inquiry, which, not satisfied with the simple creed of ^ earlier age,
sought out the physical nature of the earth, and of the phenomena
connected with its economy. Among the various causes which led
to these results, the following may be enumerated as most promi-
nent:— (1.) The advance of commerce and colonization; (2.) voy-
ages of discovery ; (3.) the spirit of intellectual activity ; (4.) his-
torical events.

(1.) Advance of Commerce and Cohnizatum. — The spirit of commercial
adventure was at an early period developed in the inhabitanta of
the isles and towns of the ^gsean Sea. The ^giuetans, and at a
later period the Rhodiaua di8tiofi;uiBhed themselves for their bold
seatnanship ; the latter are said to have planted colonies in Iberia and
among the Opicans and Damiians of Italy. The foundation of Hetar
pontum in Italy by the Pylians on theur return from Troy, and of
Cumse by EuboDans of Clialcis, cannot be rt«garded as well authen-
ticated ; but there can be no doubt that from the eighth century the
coasts of Magna Grajcia in Italy and of Sicily were constantly visited
by the Greeks, who planted the following colonies on them : Naxos
(735 B.C.) ; Syracuse, Hybla, and Thapsus (734) ; Sybftris (720) ; Croton
(710); Tarentum (708); Locri Epizephyrii (683); Rhegium (668);
Himfira (648) ; and Selinus (about 628). The Phocseans of Ionia
explored the coasts of Spain, Gaul, Western Italy, and the Adriatic :
they were reputed to be the founders of Massilia, Maraeiiles (B.C. 600),
and certainly settled at Alalia, in Corsica, about B.c. 564. The Samians
under Ck)Iseu8 (about 700 b.c.) had penetrated bevond the Straits of
Gibraltar to Tartessus: they were loUowed by the Phocseans, who
settled there, in the year 630 B.c.

In another direction, the Milesians had thoroughly explored the
Kuxine, and are said to have changed its name from Axinus ''inhospit-
able" to the more propitious name of Euxinus ** hospitable." They lined
its coasts with flourishing colonies during the eighth and two follow-
ing centuries, B.C., other commercial towns following their example,
but not to the same extent. Of these colonies we may notice, on the
southern coast, Heraclea, Sinope, Amisus, Trapezum ; on the eastern,
Phasis, Dioecurias, and Phanagoria; in the Tauric Chersonese, Pauti'
capeeum ; on the northern coast, Tonis and Olbia ; and on the western,
Istria, Tomi, Callatis, Odessus, Apollonia, and Salmydessus.

Lastly, by the foundation of Cyrene by the Thereans (B.C. 630),
and by the liberal policy of the Egyptian king Psammetichus, who
gave to the Greeks Naucrtltis as a commercial station, the continent
of Africa, hitherto a sealed book to European nations, "wbe opened to

It should be remembered that each colony was a fresh starting point
for more extended discoveries, the limits of which cannot be fixed with
any precision. Herodotus (iv. 24) informs us that the Greek merchants
penetrated to the extreme north of Scythia, and even beyond this to
the mountain range of Ural. Tartessus again was undoubtedly an
entrep6t for the prosecution of the northern trade in tin and other
articles. From Nauci-aus the Greeks not only penetrated into Egypt,
but learnt very much regarding the interior of Africa.

(2.) Voyages of Discovert/. — Foremost among these we must mention
Necho*s expedition for the circumnavigation of Afinca, about 600 B.C.
Herodotus, who records it (iv. 42), expresses his doubts as to the


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account the Phosnician navigators gave, ''that the sun was on their
right hand ;** this particular, however, forms the strongest argiunent
in support of the real accomplishment of the undertaking, and it is the
opinion of many distinguished geographers that the Cape of Good
Hope was doubled more than 2()00 years before the time of Yasco de
Oama's discoveiy. It is important to observe that the Phcenicians
started from the Red Sea and returned through the Straits of Gibraltar,
thus gaining the advantage of the northern mon«oon to carry them
southwards to the tropic, thence a strong current setting to the south
along the coast of Africa, and after doubling the Cape, the southern
titule-wind to carry them home.

Sataspes undertook an expedition with a similar object, by the com-
mand of Xerzee, which proved a failure ; the result is attributable to
his having taken the opposite course, starting through the Straits of
Gibraltar, in consequence of which he found himself baffled when he
reached the coast of Guinea (Hei*od. iv. 43). The course at present
taken by sailing ships is to cross over to the coast of South America,
in order to avail themselves of the trade wind.

An expedition into the interior of Africa was undertaken by some
Kasamonians, as related by Herodotus (ii. 32) ; they reached a large
river flowing from west to east (probably the Niger), and a town
occupied by negroes (perhaps Timhiuitoo),

Lastly, Scylax of Caryanda explored the Indus at the command of
Darius Hystaspis ; he started from Caspatyrus, descended the river to
the sea, and thence returned by the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea
(Herod, iv. 44).i

(3.) Intellectual Activity, — The spirit of commercial activity thus
developed among the Greeks of Asia Minor, awakened a corresponding
degree of intellectual excitement. The earliest school of physical
science arose in that district under the guidance of the celebrated
teachers Thales (u.c. 640-550), Anaximander (B.C. 610-547), and Anaxi-
mines, who flourished about 53U B.C. The opinions entertained by
these philosophers will be hereafter noticed. Of these, Anaximander
coufcrred the most direct benefit on practical geography, by the in-
troductiou of maps of the world.

The Ionian School was succeeded by the EUeatic, founded by Xeno-
ph&nes of Colophon about the year 536 B.C., and the Atomic School of
Leucippus about 5uO B.C., and lastly by that founded by PythagOras,
who flourished about 540-550 B.C. ; to the latter is assigned the credit of
having discovered the spherical form of the earth, a doctrine which did
not gain general acceptance imtil the time of Plato. Some of the
philosophers contributed to the advance of practical geography : we
may instance Democritus of Abdera, who composed sever^ works,
"Periplus of the Ocean," " Periplus of the Earth," &c., containing the
results of his own observations; and Heraclitus of Ephesus (b.c. 500 >
who undertook and described a journey to the Ocean.

Another class 'of writers, the logographers, gave to jthe world de-
scriptions, partly historical, partly geographical, of the various countries
laiil open. Of the majority of these, only the titles and a few frag-
ments remain ; yet these are interesting as showing the increaseil range
of knowledge and the lively interest felt by the public on this subject.

* The expeditlfni of Hanno occurred about thin same period, but the notice of it
is poctponed, as it doen not appear to have been known to Herodotus.

' The following is a list of the nameH and dates of the authors, with thv titles


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The most important of these writers was Hecatsus, of whom, as the
more immediate predecessor of Herodotus, we shaJl give a special
notice. Of the others it may be observed that Hellanicus is supposed
to have mentioned **Rome/' and Damastes certainly did so : the
latter writer and Phei^ecydes exhibited a very advanced knowledge of
the western districts of Europe.

(4.) Historical events had their influence on the knowledge of geo-
graphy. The growth of the Persian empire had excited curiosity as to
the interior of Asia, and had 'opened fresh sources of information re-
garding the distant regions of tha east. The expedition of Darius
against Scythia, which he penetrated peziiaps as far as the Volga, and
his conquest of upper India, drew attention to both of those quarters.
The disputes with the Ionian Greeks, and the subsequent invasions of
Greece, led to the valuable information preserved to us in the pages of
Heix>dotus. Nor should we omit notice of the facilities offered for
travelling throughout the vast extent of the Persian empire. Hero-
dotus gives a detailed account (v. 52) of the royal road from Sardis to
Susa, which was furnished with stations at regular intervals.

§ 2. Hecatseiis of MiletuB flourished about 500 B.C., and took an
active part in the political events of the day, particularly in the
Ionian revolt. Previously to this be had travelled extensively,
vbiting Egypt, Persia, the coast of the Euxine, Thrace, Greece,
Italy, Spain, and Africa; and he embodied the results of his obser-
vations in two works, the one geographical, the other historical.
The former was named a " Survey of the World," and consisted
of descriptions of the different districts of the then known world.
His opinions are frequently referred to, indirectly, by Herodotus.
Hecatadus supposed the habitable world to be an exact circle, sur-
rounded by the Ocean, with which the Kile was connected at its
source. He divided the land into two continents, the northern being
Europe, and the southern Asia ; these were separated by the Straits
of Gibraltar in the W., and the Tanais, or more probably the
Araxes and Caucasus, in the E. Libya he considered as a part of
Asia : he describes the western paHs of Europe at greater length
than even Herodotus himself, and added much to the previous
knowledge of Thrace, the coasts of the Euxine and Caspian seas,
and the inhabitants of Caucasus, Persia, and India.'

of their works :—< Miletus and Ionia,' by Cadmns of Miietns (b.c. 520); * De-
Bcription of the World,' * Persia, Troas, Ac.,* by Dionysius of Miletus (b.c. 510) ;

* Description of the World,' containing special chapters on Asia, Europe, AfHca, &c.,
by HecatouB of Miletus (b.c. 549-486); * Ethiopia, Libya, and Persia,' and a

* Pcriplusof the Lands outside the Pillars of Hercules,' by Charon of LampslUsus
(B.C. 480); «Lydia,' by Xanthus (b.c. 480); 'Sicily,' by Hlppys of Rhegium
(B.C. 495); * Troas, Persia, Egypt, and the Greek States,' by Hellanicus of Myti-
l§nc ; a * Periplus,' * Catalogue of Nations and Cities,' * Greek Chronicles,' by
Damastes of SlgCum, or of Citinm in Cyprus ; * Antiquities of Attica,' by Pherecydes
of Leros (about 500 b.c).

* The Fragments which remain are remarkable for the number of names which
appear in no other writer : some of these admit of identification with other forms,
e.f. Darsiaiu (DersiMns, Herod. Til. 1 10) ; Dattileptians (Danthaletian^ Strab. vii.


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Details of Vie Qeography of ffecatceue, — Among the luunes of intereet
which first appear m hia writings we may notice, in Europe — Pyrene
(Pyrenees); the Celts of Oaul, ^-ith their town Narbo; Massilia ; the
(Enotri and Ausonians of Italy ; Nola, Inpygia, Syracuse, and various
other towns of Sicily ; Cymus (Corsica); the lllyrians and Libumians,
and the Melanchlseni of Scythia : in Asia — Pontus Euxinus ; the Hyr-
canian (Caspian) sea ; the Colchians, Moschians, Armenians, and
Tibarenians; the Caspian gates; the Parthians and Chorasmions ; the
Indians, with the river Indus and the town Caspapyrus ; the Persian
Oulf; Canytis in Syria (Oaza^;, and Chna (C^Miaan, i.e, Phcenicia)
with Qabftla (Oebal); in Africa — Magdolus (Migdol) and Chembis
(Ghemmis), towns of Egypt; the Psyllians, Masyans, Zaueoians (com-
pare the Roman Zeugitana), and Carthage on the northern coast, and
the river Lists, perhaps the Lixus of Uanno, on the western. It
may be noticed that he names certain islands in the Nile, Ephesus,
Chios, Lesbos, Cyprus, and Samos ; this may be perhaps regfuxled as
an indication that Greek colonies were planted on them. Whether
the name Amalchium Mare («= ** frozen sea") applied to the Korthem
Ocean originated with Hecata:us, is doubtful ; it may be due to Heca-
tssuB of Abdera. Lastly, he improved the map of Auazimander, and it
has been supposed that it was his which Aristagoras showed to Cleo-
mcQes, as related by Herodotus (v. 49).

§ 3. Herodotna was bom at Halicarnassus, b.c. 484, aud probably
died at Thurii in Italy.** At an early age he entered upon a course
of travel, and in his great historical work he has recorded much
that he saw. Great difference of opinion exists as to the extent
of his travels; we have positive evidence that he visited Egypt
(ii. 29), Cyrene (ii. 181), Babylon (i. 181-3), Arderioca in Susiana
(vi. 119), Colchis (ii. 104), Scythia (iv. 81), Thrace (iv. 90),
Dodona (ii. 52), Zacynthus (iv. 195), and Magna Grseda (iv. 15,
V. 45). Some of these countries, particularly Egypt, Greece, Asia
Minor, and the islands of the iEgaean Sea, he knew intimately : oi
others his narrative shows only a partial knowledge. He seems to
have visited only the coast of Scythia, between the Danube and
Dniepr; the same may be said of Phoenicia, Syria, and Thrace,
while in Magna Graecia he notices only some few of the Greek towns.
The dates of the chief events of his life may be fixed with some
probability as follows: Egjrptian travels, B.C. 460-456; visit to
Thrace, about e.g.- 452 ; removal from Halicarnassus to Greece,
B.C. 447 ; removal to Thurii, B.C. 443.

$4. As a geographer Herodotus has both merits and defects.
Among the former we may notice the fidelity with which he records
what he had himself seen, and the candour with which he relates

818); Maxyee (Maxjkes, Ptol. It. 8; Maxyet, Herod. It. 191); Caspapyrus.
(Caepatynw, Herod, lii. 102) ; Elibyrge (IlUberis) ; Canytis (Cadytis, Herod. iL
159); Zygantcs (Gyxantet, Herod, iv. 194); others are wholly unknown.

« The date of the death of Herodotus has been a subject of much dispute. Some
writers place it in b.c. 430, and others not earlier than b.c. 408.

C 2


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the statements of others, even when he himself attached no credit
to them. To this latter quality we owe some of the most interesting
notices in the whole of his work : since most of the statements which
he regarded as incredible, some of which indeed are incredible in
the form in which they apjiear, are nevertheless found to have a
large substratum of truth, which, by the light of modem research,
can be separated from the fiction mixed up with them. Among
his defects we may notice the very unscientific and unmethodical way
in which he treats his subject, and the indistinctness of his state-
ments whenever he attempts a general sketch either of a land or of
a continent. The first of these defects may be partly excused on
the ground that his work was rather historical than geograi)hical :
the second, though not admitting of the same plea, may nevertheless
be explained as resulting in many instances from a laboured attempt
to be distinct, without a suflBcient regard to the facts with which he
deals : hence he adopts a symmetrical aiTangement in cases where his
subject does not admit of it. We may instance his account of the
continent of Asia with its two actai (iv. 37 ff), which is apparently
simple enough^ but becomes more and more complicated as he goes
on ; for he seems not to have observed that the four nations selected
as occupying the heart of the continent, did not live due north of one
another, nor yet that, according to his theory, the whole of Africa
became merely an appendage of one of the actai. Again, his idea

Online LibrarySir William Smith William Latham BevanThe student's manual of ancient geography → online text (page 4 of 82)