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These calculations are nearly synonymous with those furnished by Hipparchus, who tells us, that supposing the size of the globe as stated by Eratosthenes to be correct, we can then subtract from it the extent of the inhabited earth, since in noting the celestial appearances [as they are seen] in different countries, it is not of much importance whether we make use of this measure, or that furnished by later writers. Now as the whole circle of the equator according to Eratosthenes contains 252,000 stadia, the quarter of this would be 63,000, that is, the space from the equator to the pole contains fifteen of the sixty divisions1 into which the equator itself is divided. There are four [divisions] between the equator and the summer tropic or parallel passing through Syene. The distances for each locality are calculated by the astronomical observations.

It is evident that Syene is under the tropic, from the fact that during the summer solstice the gnomon at mid-day casts no shadow there. As for the meridian of Syene, it follows very nearly the course of the Nile from Meroe to Alexandria, a distance of about 10,000 stadia. Syene itself is situated about mid-way between these places, consequently from thence to Meroe is a distance of 5000 stadia. Advancing 3000 stadia southward in a right line, we come to lands unfitted for habitation on account of the heat. Consequently the parallel which bounds these places, and which is the same as that of the Cinnamon Country, is to be regarded as the boundary and commencement of the habitable earth on the south. If, then, 3000 stadia be added to the 5000 between Syene and Meroe, there will be altogether 8000 stadia [from Syene] to the [southern] extremity of the habitable earth. But from Syene to the equator there are 16,800 stadia, (for such is the amount of the four-sixtieths, each sixtieth being equivalent to 4200 stadia,) and consequently from the [southern] boundaries of the habitable earth to the equator there are 8800 stadia, and from Alexandria 21,800.2 Again, every one is agreed that the voyage from Alexandria to Rhodes, and thence by Caria and Ionia to the Troad, Byzantium, and the Dnieper, is in a straight line with the course of the Nile.3

Taking therefore these distances, which have been ascertained by voyages, we have only to find out how far beyond the Dnieper the land is habitable, (being careful always to continue in the same straight line,) and we shall arrive at a knowledge of the northern boundaries of our earth.

Beyond the Dnieper dwell the Roxolani,4 the last of the Scythians with which we are acquainted; they are nevertheless more south than the farthest nations5 we know of beyond Britain. Beyond these Roxolani the country is uninhabitable on account of the severity of the climate. The Sauromate6 who live around the Mæotis, and the other Scythians7 as far as the Scythians of the East, dwell farther south.

1 The Greeks, besides the division of the equator into 360 degrees, had also another method of dividing it into sixty portions or degrees.

2 These 21,800 stadia would give to Alexandria a latitude of 31° 8′ 34″; according to modern calculation it is 31° 11′ 20″ of latitude. The following presents Strabo's calculations of the latitude of the preceding places in a tabular form.

Names of places.Particular Distance.Total Distance.Latitudes.
Equator000° 0′ 0″
Limits of the habitable earth8800880012° 34′ 17″
Meroe30001180016° 51′ 25″
Syene and the Tropic50001680024° 0′ 0″
Alexandria50002180031° 8′ 34″

3 Eratosthenes, Hipparchus, and Strabo, all believed that the longitude of Rhodes was the same as that of Alexandria, although actually it is 2° 22′ 45″ west of that place. The coasts of Caria, Ionia, and the Troad incline considerably to the west, while Byzantium is about 3° east of the Troad, and the mouth of the Dnieper is above 3° 46′ east of Byzantium.

4 The Roxolani inhabited the Ukraine. It has been thought that from these people the Russians derived their name.

5 Strabo here alludes to Ireland, which he placed north of England, and believed to be the most northerly region fitted for the habitation of man. He gave it a latitude of 36,700 stadia, equivalent to 52° 25′ 42″, which answers to the southern portions of that island.

6 The Sauromatæ, or Sarmatians, occupied the lands north of the sea of Azof on either side of the Don.

7 The Scythians here spoken of dwelt between the Don and the Wolga; east of this last river were the Eastern Scythians, who were thought to occupy the whole north of Asia.

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