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Crates of Mallos – creator of first globe

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Globe of Crates of Mallos
Globe of Crates of Mallos

Crates of Mallos, the Greek Stoic philosopher and grammarian of the ruler of Pergamon, is known as the creator of the first globe (c. 150 BCE) – a spherical model of the Earth. His globe differs from the modern ones for a simple reason – in his time people did not know as much about all the continents as they do today.

We know about the construction of the globe by Crates thanks to the messages of Strabo – a Greek geographer from the 1st century BCE. As you can clearly see in the picture, Crates distinguished four lands:

  • OECUMENE – the known world of Europe, Asia and Africa.
  • PERIOECI – unknown land.
  • ANTOECI – an unknown land that was thought to be inaccessible due to its hot temperatures.
  • ANTIPODES – unknown land, also unreachable.

It is worth adding that in 168 BCE Crates visited Rome as an envoy of king Attalos II. Unexpectedly during his stay, he broke his leg when he fell into open sewers. Due to the need for convalescence, he stayed in Rome, where he began to give studies in grammar and stoicism.

  • Smith William, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
  • Strabo, Geography, II.5.10

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