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Impressive geographic knowledge of ancient Greeks

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman mosaic showing ships
Roman mosaic showing ships | Author: JoJan | Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The geographical knowledge of the ancient Greeks was truly impressive. Already in antiquity, prominent Greek minds held the theory of the spherical Earth as true. Moreover, numerous expeditions of discovery and information were collected, which led to the development of geography as a science.

Today it is assumed that the ancient Romans did not pay much attention to new geographical discoveries and the development of science as such. They used geographic knowledge mainly to manage their Empire and for political and military purposes.

When organizing research or military expeditions, the Romans most often relied on the knowledge of the Greeks, whom they also put at the forefront of the expeditions. For example, Scipio the Younger Africanus commissioned an expedition along the west coast of Africa to Polybius. Pompey the Great, in turn, used the services of Theophanes of Mytilene during the war with Mithridates, who collected a lot of information about Transcaucasia.

  • Sharypkin Sergiusz, W sprawie motywów geograficznych w poezji rzymskiej epoki pryncypatu, [w:] Sajkowski Ryszard, Wolny Miron (red.), Grecja, Kartagina, Rzym, Olsztyn 2009

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