Strabon (in Greek old Στράϐων / Strábôn , “which has a cast”, in Latin Strabo ), born in Amasée in Cappadoce (current Amasya in Turkey) towards 57 av. J. - C., died between 21 and 25 a. J. - C., is a Greek geographer .
Few things of its life are known. Its family lived in Amasée, a city in the area of the Euxine Sea. Strabon itself says that he studied near Aristodème, tutor of the children of Pompée, in Carie. Then, it settled with Rome and studied near some Tyrannion, geographer of its state. In 25 or 24 av. J. - C., it travelled in Egypt, accompanying the Roman prefect Ælius Gallus along the the Nile.
After many voyages, it turned over to Amasée, where it undertook to write a Histoire ( Ἱστορικὰ Ὑπομνήματα / Historika Upomnếmata ) in 43 volumes, which he wanted the continuation of the work of Polybe. None of these volumes arrived at the readers of today. Then, it began a Géographie ( Γεωγραφικά / Geôgraphiká ), conceived like complementary to the History , in 17 volumes, which, it, was not lost, except some missing parts of book VII. Its goal was to offer to an assistantship as broad as possible a pleasant and instructive book, which could be read of at a stretch.
The GeographyThe Géographie is divided as follows:
- books I and II constitute a long introduction to the work, where Strabon intends to prove that the geographer Ératosthène was wrong to reject the work of Homère from a geographical point of view;
- books III with X describe the Europe, and more particularly the Greece (books VIII-X);
- books XI to XIV describe the minor Asia;
- books XV to XVI describe the Orient;
- book XVII described the Africa (Egypt and Libya).
Strabon thought that the fortune of Greece was partially due to its maritime situation, and outlined an interesting correlation between the advance of people as regards civilization and its contact with the sea. At the same time, he insisted on the fact that the geography could not with it only explain the size of people, and affirmed that Greek civilization was based on the interest of its citizens for arts and the policy.
If its work takes again sometimes texts former several centuries to the period when he lived, nevertheless its knowledge of the Roman law of the various cities in fact also an essential source to describe the beginnings of the romanisation as a Gaulle and in the Iberian peninsula. It shows thus, in books III and IV in particular, the development of a new culture in these areas, following acculturation partial of the populations.
The work of Strabon remained in the shade under the Roman Empire, in spite of the wish of its author. It was only as from the 5th century that it started to be quoted, and that Strabon became the prototype of the geographer. At the 15th century the Italian scholar Guarino Veronese translated the totality of the work of Strabon, thus contributing to his redécouverte. The traditional historians as Wilamowitz recognized the interest of its work, like its literary talents, which enabled him to describe a place where it had not been better than Pausanias, which had gone there.
Strabon, thanks to its many voyages, also takes part in the development of the list of the Seven wonders of the world. He affirms in particular:
“Babylon is located in a plain. Its ramparts have 365 stages of circuit, 32 feet thickness and 50 bent height in the interval of the turns, which themselves high of 60 are bent. With the top of this rampart one spared a rather broad passage so that two quadrigae can cross there. It is understood that a similar work was arranged with the number of the Seven wonders of the world. ”
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