GEO 466/566: The Profession of Geography

Greek and Roman Contributions



The Greeks

Be aware that the term "Greek" in the classical sense involves much more than modern Greece. Several areas, including western Turkey, southern Italy, and northern Africa, constituted the Greek cultural realm.

Greek scholars and thinkers who influenced geographic thought

Homer

Thales
Anaximander
Hecataeus
Herodotus
Ptolemy I
Eratosthenes
Hipparchus
Posidonius


The Romans

Following the era of Greek dominance in the Mediterranean, a period of Roman dominance emerged. During this time, the Romans made their mark in the development of geographic thought.

There was not, however, a clean break between Greek intellectual thought and Roman intellectual thought; instead there was a gradual transition.

A good example of this overlap existed in the person of one of the most important of all the ancient geographersóStrabo.

The pinnacle of the Roman era and the end of the ancient period of geographic thought came about with the work of Claudius Ptolemaeus or Ptolemy.

For some reason, geographical thought, like that of many intellectual fields, retreated after about 200 A.D., making Ptolemy the last of the important ancient geographers.



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Created by JTK and last revised on 11 September 1996.