Homer, Inventor of Geography

Strabo, Geographica 1.1:

Let us take up and inspect more closely each of the things previously stated. First, that we have taken up correctly along with those before us (among whom is Hipparchus) in stating that Homer is the forefather of geographical study, as he not only outstrips all before and after him in his poetic excellence, but also in his knowledge of political life. Not only did he set himself eagerly about practical affairs with an eye to learning about them and transmitting the knowledge to future generations, but he also worked with an eye to learning about individual lands as well as the whole scope of the inhabited world on land and sea. For, even in his circuit of the globe, he did not arrive at a recollection of the farthest lands of the world.

He was the first to show that the world was as it were circled and bathed by the Ocean. Then, of the various lands, he gave some names and posed riddles about others with some little clues. He called by name Libya, Aethiopia, the Sidonians and the Eremboi (whom he referred to as the Arabs of the Caves), but he referred enigmatically to the peoples who lived near the risings and settings of the sun, saying that they were bathed by the ocean.

᾿Αναλαβόντες δὲ καθ’ ἕκαστον ἐπισκοπῶμεν τῶν εἰρημένων ἔτι μᾶλλον. καὶ πρῶτον ὅτι ὀρθῶς ὑπειλήφαμεν καὶ ἡμεῖς καὶ οἱ πρὸ ἡμῶν, ὧν ἐστι καὶ ῞Ιππαρχος, ἀρχηγέτην εἶναι τῆς γεωγραφικῆς ἐμπειρίας ῞Ομηρον, ὃς οὐ μόνον ἐν τῇ κατὰ τὴν ποίησιν ἀρετῇ πάντας ὑπερβέβληται τοὺς πάλαι καὶ τοὺς ὕστερον,  ἀλλὰ σχεδόν τι καὶ τῇ κατὰ τὸν βίον ἐμπειρίᾳ τὸν πολιτικόν, ἀφ’ ἧς οὐ μόνον περὶ τὰς πράξεις ἐσπούδασεν ἐκεῖνος, ὅπως ὅτι πλείστας γνοίη καὶ παραδώσει τοῖς ὕστερον ἐσομένοις, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ περὶ τοὺς τόπους τούς τε καθ’ ἕκαστα καὶ τοὺς κατὰ σύμπασαν τὴν οἰκουμένην γῆν τε καὶ θάλατταν· οὐ γὰρ ἂν μέχρι τῶν ἐσχάτων αὐτῆς περάτων ἀφίκετο τῇ μνήμῃ κύκλῳ περιιών.

Καὶ πρῶτον μὲν τῷ ὠκεανῷ περίκλυστον, ὥσπερ ἔστιν, ἀπέφαινεν αὐτήν· ἔπειτα δὲ τῶν χωρίων τὰ μὲν ὠνόμαζε τὰ δὲ ὑπῃνίττετο τεκμηρίοις τισί, Λιβύην μὲν καὶ Αἰθιοπίαν καὶ Σιδονίους καὶ ᾿Ερεμβούς, οὓς εἰκὸς λέγειν Τρωγλοδύτας ῎Αραβας, ῥητῶς λέγων, τοὺς δὲ πρὸς ταῖς ἀνατολαῖς καὶ δύσεσιν αἰνιττόμενος ἐκ τοῦ τῷ ὠκεανῷ κλύζεσθαι·

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