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Title page of the 1620 edition of Isaac Casaubon's Geographica, whose 840 page numbers prefixed by "C" are now used as a standard text reference.

The Geographica (Greek: Γεωγραφικά, Geōgraphiká; Latin: Geographica or Strabonis Rerum Geographicarum Libri XVII, "Strabo's 17 Books on Geographical Topics") or Geography, is an encyclopedia of geographical knowledge, consisting of 17 'books', written in Greek in the late 1st century BC, or early 1st century AD, and attributed to Strabo, an educated citizen of the Roman Empire of Greek descent. There is a fragmentary palimpsest dating to the fifth century. The earliest manuscripts of books 1–9 date to the tenth century, with a 13th-century manuscript containing the entire text.[1]

Title of the work[edit]

Map of the world according to Strabo

Strabo refers to his Geography within it by several names:[2]

  • geōgraphia, "description of the earth"[3]
  • chōrographia, "description of the land"
  • periēgēsis, "an outline"[4]
  • periodos gēs, "circuit of the earth"[5]
  • periodeia tēs chōrās, "circuit of the land"[6]

Apart from the "outline", two words recur, "earth" and "country." Something of a theorist, Strabo explains what he means by Geography and Chorography:[7]

It is the sea more than anything else that defines the contours of the land (geōgraphei) and gives it its shape, by forming gulfs, deep seas, straits and likewise isthmuses, peninsulas, and promontories; but both the rivers and the mountains assist the seas herein. It is through such natural features that we gain a clear conception of continents, nations, favourable positions of cities and all the other diversified details with which our geographical map (chorographikos pinax) is filled.

From this description it is clear that by geography Strabo means ancient physical geography and by chorography, political geography. The two are combined in this work, which makes a "circuit of the earth" detailing the physical and political features. Strabo often uses the adjective geōgraphika with reference to the works of others and to geography in general, but not of his own work. In the Middle Ages it became the standard name used of his work.

Ascribed date[edit]

The date of Geographica is a large topic, perhaps because Strabo worked on it along with his History for most of his adult life. He traveled extensively, undoubtedly gathering notes, and made extended visits to Rome and Alexandria, where he is sure to have spent time in the famous library taking notes from his sources.

Strabo visited Rome in 44 BC at age 19 or 20 apparently for purposes of education. He studied under various persons, including Tyrannion, a captive educated Greek and private tutor, who instructed Cicero's two sons. Cicero says:[8]

The geographical work I had planned is a big undertaking...if I take Tyrannion's views too...

If one presumes that Strabo acquired the motivation for writing geography during his education, the latter must have been complete by the time of his next visit to Rome in 35 BC at 29 years old. He may have been gathering notes but the earliest indication that he must have been preparing them is his extended visit to Alexandria 25–20 BC. In 20 he was 44 years old. His "numerous excerpts" from "the works of his predecessors" are most likely to have been noted at the library there.[9] Whether these hypothetical notes first found their way into his history and then into his geography or were simply ported along as notes remains unknown.

20th century drawing of Augustus

Most of the events of the life of Augustus mentioned by Strabo occurred 31–7 BC with a gap 6 BC – 14 AD, which can be interpreted as an interval after first publication in 7 BC.[10] Then in 19 AD a specific reference dates a passage: he said that the Carni and Norici had been at peace since they were "stopped ... from their riotous incursions ...." by Drusus 33 years ago, which was 15 BC, dating the passage 19 AD.[11] The latest event mentioned is the death of Juba at no later than 23 AD, when Strabo was in his 80s. These events can be interpreted as a second edition unless he saved all his notes and wrote the book entirely after the age of 80.

Oldest extant manuscripts[edit]

"Today there are about thirty manuscripts in existence, with a fragmentary palimpsest of the fifth century the earliest (Vaticanus gr. 2306 + 2061 A). Two manuscripts in Paris provide the best extant text: Parisinus gr. 1397 of the tenth century for Books 1-9, and Parisinus gr. 1393 of the thirteenth century for the entire text. The end of Book 7 had been lost sometime in the latter Byzantine period.

A Latin translation commissioned by Pope Nicholas V appeared in 1469: this was the edition probably used by Columbus and other early Renaissance explorers. The first printed Greek edition was the Aldine of 1516, and the first text with commentary was produced by Isaac Casaubon in Geneva in 1587. The Teubner edition appeared in 1852-3 under the editorship of August Meineke." (Roller 51–52)[12]


Strabo is his own best expounder of his principles of composition:[13]

In short, this book of mine should be ... useful alike to the statesman and to the public at large – as was my work on History. ... And so, after I had written my Historical Sketches ... I determined to write the present treatise also; for this work is based on the same plan, and is addressed to the same class of readers, and particularly to men of exalted stations in life. ... in this work also I must leave untouched what is petty and inconspicuous, and devote my attention to what is noble and great, and to what contains the practically useful, or memorable, or entertaining. ... For it, too, is a colossal work, in that it deals with the facts about large things only, and wholes ....


An outline of the encyclopedia follows, with links to the appropriate Wikipedia article.

Book I – definition and history of geography[edit]

Pages C1 through C67, Loeb Volume I pages 3–249.

Chapter 1 – description of geography and this encyclopedia[edit]

Book Section Description
I.1 1 Geography is a branch of philosophy.
2 Homer is the founder of geography.
3 The Ocean.
4 The Elysian Plain.
5 The Isles of the Blessed.
6 The Aethiopians, Definition of the Arctic Circle
7–9 Tides of the Ocean. Earth is an island.
10 The Mediterranean, the land of the Cimmerians, the Ister.
11 Anaximander and Hecataeus.
12 Hipparchus and the climata.
13 The antipodes.
14–19 The ecumene. Geography requires encyclopedic knowledge of celestial, terrestrial and maritime features as well as natural history and mathematics and is of strategic interest.
20 Earth is a sphere with surface curved by the law of gravity, that bodies move to the center.
21 Knowledge of geometry is required to understand geography.
22–23 The purpose and plan of the encyclopedia.

Chapter 2 – contributors to geography[edit]

Book Section Description
I.2 1 Contributions of the Romans and Parthians to geography
2–3 Critique of Eratosthenes
4–40 Critique of Homer's and the other poets' geography and various writers' view of it, especially Eratosthenes'.

Chapter 3 – physical geography[edit]

Book Section Description
I.3 1–2 Critiques of Eratosthenes' sources: Damastes, Euhemerus.
3 Critiques of Eratosthenes' geology, shape of the Earth.
4–7 Fossils, formation of the seas.
8–9 Silting.
10 Volcanic action.
11–12 Currents.
13–15 More on the formation of the seas.
16–20 Island-building, earthquakes
21 Human migration.
22–23 Hyperboreans, Hypernotians

Chapter 4 – political geography[edit]

Book Section Description
I.4 1 Heaven is spherical corresponding to Earth's sphericity.
2–6 Distances along lines of latitude and longitude to various peoples and places.
7–8 The three continents: Europe, Asia, Libya.
9 Recommends Alexander the Great's division of people into good or bad rather than the traditional Greek barbarians and Greeks.

Book II – mathematics of geography[edit]

Pages C67 through C136, Loeb Volume I pages 252–521.

Chapter 1 – distances between parallels and meridians[edit]

Book Section Description
II.1 1–3 Relates Eratosthenes' description of the Tropic of Cancer, which was based on Patrocles.
4–5 Critiques Hipparchus' criticism of Patrocles, which was based on Deimachus and Megasthenes. Points out that Eratosthenes used the Library of Alexandria.
6–8 Critique of Patrocles.
9 Fabrications of the geographers concerning India.
10–41 Calculations of distances between parallels and meridians passing through various places in the habitable world, according to various geographers: Hipparchus, Eratosthenes, Pytheas, Deimachus.

Chapter 2 – the five zones[edit]

Book Section Description
II.2 1 Introduces the work Oceans by Poseidonius.
2–3 Critiques Poseidonius, who criticises Parmenides and Aristotle on the widths and locations of the five zones.

Chapter 3 – distribution of plants, animals, civilizations[edit]

Book Section Description
II.3 1–3 Critiques the six zones of Polybius.
4 Describes African voyages: the circumnavigation by an expedition sent by Necho II, another by Magus; to India by Eudoxus of Cyzicus.
5 Adventures and misadventures of Eudoxus. Attacks the credibility of Pytheas, Euhemerus, Antiphanes.
6 Poseidonius' theory of Atlantis; attributes migration of Cimbri to inundation.
7 Attributes the distribution of plants, animals and civilizations to chance (suntuchia) rather than to zones (which was Poseidonius' theory).
8 Example of random racial distribution: Ethiopians were in both Asia (India) and Libya (Africa). Strabo says his school avoids such causal connections.

Chapter 4 – criticisms of Polybius' and Eratosthenes' maps[edit]

Book Section Description
II.4 1–2 Polybius' critique of Pytheas.
3 Strabo's criticisms of Polybius' European distances.
4 Strabo's criticisms of Polybius' critique of the distances of Eratosthenes.
5–6 Strabo's corrections to various geographers' descriptions of the locations of the Tanaïs, the Tyras, the Borysthenes and the Hypanis.
7 Strabo criticises Polybius' length of the inhabited world.
8 Strabo criticises Polybius' and Eratosthenes' physical divisions of Europe.

Chapter 5 – Strabo's view of the ecumene[edit]

Book Section Description
II.5 1 Representation of a spherical surface as a plane requires the geographer to be a mathematician.
2 The celestial sphere, gravity, the Earth's axis and the poles, stellar paths, equator, tropics, arctic circles, ecliptic, zodiac.
3 The five zones, terrestrial and celestial, the hemispheres, the ocean.
4 The gnomon, latitude, longitude, circumference of the Earth.
5–6 The inhabited world is an island shaped like a truncated cone, in a spherical quadrilateral formed between the equator, the arctic circle and a great circle passing through the poles. The island is 70,000 stadia long by 30,000 stadia wide.
7 Hipparchus says the equator is 252,000 stadia long; the great circle distance from equator to pole is 63,000 stadia.
8 Strabo does not believe Pytheas that Thule is farthest north at the Arctic Circle. He thinks no one is north of Ierne. He believes the Romans scorned to invade Britain as being worthless.
9 The length and width of the inhabited world are 70,000 and 30,000 stadia respectively.
10 Strabo recommends representing the Earth on a globe of no less than 10 feet in diameter or on a plane map of at least 7 feet.
11–12 Strabo says he personally travelled from Armenia to Tyrrhenia and from the Euxine Sea to the frontiers of Ethiopia. He and all other geographers receive information mostly by hearsay. He went up the Nile river with his friend Aelius Gallus, prefect of Egypt, to the edge of Ethiopia and Syene.
13–16 The known limits of the Earth are Meroe in the Nile river, Ierne, the Sacred Promontory beyond the Pillars of Hercules and east of Bactriana.
17–18 The sea determines the contours of the land. The four largest internal seas are the Caspian sea, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
19–25 Mediterranean Sea.
26 The continents are Europe, Libya, Asia. Europe develops excellence in men and government and has contributed the most to the others.
27–33 States the locations of the countries of the three continents.
34 Division of the circumference of the Earth, which is 252,000 stadia, by 360 gives 700 stadia per section.
35–43 Equator, Tropic circle, Arctic circle, latitude by the shadow of the gnomon and the length of the longest day.

Book III – Iberian peninsula[edit]

Representation on a modern map of Iberia according to Strabo.

Chapter 1 – Vicinity of the Sacred Cape[edit]

Book Section Description
III.1 1–3 Ibēria is poor, inhospitable and mountainous, 6000 stadia N–S, 5000 E–W. The Purēnē oros is aligned N–S and separates Ibēria from Keltikē.[14]
4 The Sacred Cape is the westernmost point of the inhabited world.[15] The country next to it is called Cuneus, "wedge", in the Latin language from its shape. It is occupied by the Ibēres across the straits from the Maurousioi.
5 Strabo repeats Poseidonius' assertion that the setting sun is larger at the coast because of a lens effect through the water vapor. He says Artemidorus is wrong in claiming a size of 100 times larger and that he could not have seen it because the cape was taboo at night.
6 South West Iberia is delimited by the Tagus river (to the north of the Sacred Cape) and the Anas river to the east. The region is populated by the Keltikoi and some Lusitanai resettled there from beyond the Tagus by the Romans. Inland are the Karpētanoi (Madrid region), the Ōrētanoi (La Mancha and eastern Sierra Morena, and the Ouettōnoi (Salamanca region). The fertile southeast, Baetica (Andalusia region), east of the Baetis river after which it is named, is occupied by the Tourdētanoi or Tourdouloi, who have writing and a literature. Other Iberians have alphabets, but not the same, as they do not all use the same languages (glōttai).

Chapter 2 – Bætica[edit]

Book Section Description
III.2 1–2 Bætica is the region around the Bætis river, main cities are Corduba and Gadira.
3–5 Bætis river is navigable and boats go from the sea to Corduba.
6 Bætica soil is fertile, it exports a lot of wheat, wine, and oil.
7 Bætica littoral is full of fish, especially fat tuna, which eat a lot of acorns like some "sea pigs".
8 Bætica subsoil is full of gold, silver, cooper, and iron.
9–10 How gold and silver are extracted from the soil of Baetica and other regions of Hispania.
11–13 What Homer says about Bætica.
14–15 Bætica was a Phœnician colony, now it's romanised.

Chapter 3 Iberia[edit]

Book Section Description
1 Topography of Iberia
2 Turdetani
3 North West Spain discussed
4 Seacoast from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Pyrenees & inland
5 Islands of Iberia

Chapter 4[edit]

Book Section Description
III 1–20 ...

Chapter 5 - Islands of Iberia: Baleares, Cassiterides, Gades[edit]

Book Section Description
III 1 Balearic Islands
2 Balearic Islands cont.
3 Gades
4 Mythical Erytheia location
5 Myths about the Pillars of Heracles
6 Pillars of Heracles cibt
7 Water and tides and Gades
8 Water and tides and Gades cont.
9 Seleucus in Gades.
10 Story by Poseidonius of a tree found in Gades
11 Cassiterides

Book IV – Gaul, Britain, Ireland, Thule, the Alps[edit]

Chapter 1 – Narbonitis[edit]

Book Section Description
IV 1 'Celtica beyond the Alps' (Gaul), its inhabitants and boundaries
2 The agriculture and landscapes of Gaul
3 The cities and towns of Narbonitis
4 The cult of Ephesian Artemis in Massalia (Marseille)
5 The government and society of Massalia, its interactions with Rome, and the founding of Aquae Sextiae (Aix)
6 The coastline around Massalia, including the Galactic Gulf; the site and trade of Narbo (Narbonne)
7 The mysterious rocks of the Stony Plain, and the causes given by other writers
8 Siltation and oyster-fishing in the mouth of the Rhodanus (Rhône)
9 The remaining settlements of the coastline, including Forum Iulium (Fréjus), Nicaea (Nice) and Antipolis (Antibes)
10 The Stoechades Islands (Îles d’Hyères) and other coastal islands
11 The towns and rivers of the Cévennes and the Rhône basin as far as Lemenna (lac Léman), including Avenio (Avignon), Arausio (Orange) and Vienna (Vienne)
12 The right bank of the Rhône, including Nemausos (Nîmes)
13 Historical migration from Gaul to Cappadocia
14 Tolossa (Toulouse) and river trade in Gaul

Chapter 2 – Aquitania[edit]

Book Section Description
IV 1 The geography of Aquitania, between the Pyrenees and the Liger (Loire) via the Garumna (Garonne)
2 The inhabitants of Aquitania
3 The history of Vercingetorix and the Arverni, including the settlements of Cenabum (Orléans), Gergovia (Gergovie) and Alesia (Alise-Sainte-Reine)

Chapter 3 – Celtica[edit]

Book Section Description
IV 1 Description of the interior of Celtica (Gaul), between the Rhenus (Rhine) Rhodanus (Rhône) and Liger (Loire)
2 Lugdunum (Lyon), one of the most important cities in Gaul, and of local tribes and peoples (including the Aedui and the Sequani)
3 Description of the Rhine and a calculation of its length; an account of Julius Caesar's actions along the river during the Gallic Wars
4 The territory of the Helvetii and the other peoples of the Rhine, including Germanic tribes and settlers (such as the Treveri, Nervii and Suebi)
5 Northern Gaul, including Durocortorum (Reims), the Ardouenna (Ardennes) and the Parisii in Lucotocia (Lutetia)

Chapter 4 – Northwest Gaul and the Belgae[edit]

Book Section Description
IV 1 The coastal tribes (the Veneti and the Osismii)
2 A general ethnography of the Gauls
3 The tribes of the Belgae and their characteristics
4 Description of the three intellectual classes of the Belgae (the bards, vates and druids)
5 The habits of the Belgae, including their fondness for jewellery, practice of scalping and religious sacrifice of humans
6 Description of an island near the mouth of the Loire, home to a Dionysiac cult and inhabited entirely by women

Chapter 5 – Great Britain, Ireland, and other islands[edit]

Book Section Description
IV 1 The island of Great Britain and its dimensions
2 The natural resources and inhabitants of Great Britain
3 Roman attempts at the occupation of Great Britain
4 Ireland and its inhabitants
5 Thule

Chapter 6 – The Alps[edit]

Book Section Description
IV 1

Book V – Italy to Campania[edit]

Chapter 1 – Northern Italy[edit]

Book Section Description
V 1 The shape of Italy, its geography, and the rivers and cities of the north; the River Padus (Po), Mediolanum (Milan), Comum (Como), Patavium (Padua), and Ravenna
2 The places of northwestern Italy, including the River Tiber, the quarry at Carrara, Pisa, and the islands of Elba, Corsica and Sardinia; also ethnographies of Italian peoples, including the Tyrrhenians (Etruscans), the Caeretanians, and the mysterious Pelasgians.

Chapter 2 – Tuscany and Umbria[edit]

Book Section Description
V 1

Chapter 3 – The Sabine Hills and Latium[edit]

Book Section Description
V 1

Chapter 4 – Picenum and Campania[edit]

Book Section Description
V 1

Book VI – south Italy, Sicily[edit]

Chapter 1 – Southern Italy[edit]

Book Section Description
VI 1

Chapter 2 – Sicily[edit]

Book Section Description
VI 1

Chapter 3 – Greece[edit]

Book Section Description
VI 1

Chapter 4 – Italy summary[edit]

Book Section Description
VI 1

Book VII – north, east and central Europe[edit]

Chapter 1 – Germania[edit]

Book Section Description
VII 1 Overview of the lands to be covered in the rest of the text.
2 Germanic peoples.
3 Geography of Germania, list of Germanic tribes.
4 Roman conflicts with Germans.
5 The Hercynian Forest, the Ister river.

Chapter 2 – Germania[edit]

Book Section Description
VII 1 Correcting false tales of the Cimbri.
2 Cimbri raids.
3 Cimbri divination.
4 Lack of knowledge of areas beyond Germany.

Chapter 3 – northern Black Sea region[edit]

Book Section Description
VII 1 Southern Germania, myths about distant regions.
2 The Mysians.
3 Mysian culture and religion.
4 Getae. Different views of their culture.
5 Zalmoxis, his travels, and his influence on the Mysians.
6 Errors in other Greek accounts of Mysia.
7–10 The Scythians.
11–12 The Getae.
13–19 Danube river, Dacians, Thracians, Peucini, Dniester river, Dnepr river, Roxolani.

Chapter 4 – Crimea[edit]

Book Section Description
VII 1–8 Crimea

Chapter 5 – Illyria and Pannonia[edit]

Book Section Description
VII 1–12 Countries along the west bank of the Danube.

Chapter 6 – Eastern Dacia and Thrace[edit]

Book Section Description
VII 1–2 Continuation of countries along the western and southern banks of the Danube (the Balkans).

Chapter 7 – Epirus[edit]

Book Section Description
VII 1–2 Continuation on the Balkans.

Book VIII – Greece[edit]

Book Section Description
VIII 1.1 Summary of previous chapters and intro to Greece
1.2 Greek tribes and dialects, Origins thereof
1.3 Topography – coastline and peninsulas
3.9 Epeians and Eleians peoples
3.12 Temples and Shrines to various gods
3.17 Cauconians, Origins thereof
3.30 Olympia, legends thereof
4.11 Depopulation of Laconia (area around Sparta)

Book IX – More on Greece[edit]

Chapter 1 – Attica[edit]

Chapter 2 – Boeotia[edit]

Chapter 3 – Phocis[edit]

Chapter 4 – Locris[edit]

Chapter 5 – Thessaly[edit]

Book X – Yet more on Greece, Greek islands[edit]

Chapter 1 – Euboea[edit]

Book Section Description
X 1

Chapter 2–3 – Aetolia and Acarnania[edit]

Chapter 4 – Crete[edit]

Chapter 5 – Archipelagos[edit]

Book XI – Russia east of the Don, the Transcaucasus, northwest Iran, Central Asia[edit]

Chapter 1 – East of the Don[edit]

Book Section Description
XI 1 Brief Description of Asia
2 The Taurus Mountains
3 Measurements of the Taurus Mountains
4 Brief overview of nations bordering the Taurus mountains
5 The Don River, Sea of Azov, Strait of Kerch, Strait of Zabache, Kura, and Arax rivers
6 Brief description of Pompey's expedition
7 The Caspian Sea, Gates of Alexander, and Halys River

Chapter 2 - Sarmatia[edit]

Book Section Description
XI 1 The Sarmatians, Aorsi, Siraci, Moeotae, Achaei, Zygii, Heniochi, Cercetae, and Macropogones
3 The city of Tanais
4 The Maeotae and geography around Tanais
5 The Cimmerians and the city of Cimmericum
7 Monument of Satyrus
8 The villages of Patraeus, Corocondame, and Acra
9 Corocondametis Lake and the Kuban Rivers
10 Phanagoria
11 The Sindi, Dandarii, Toreatae, Agri, Arrhechi, Tarpetes, Obidiaceni, Sittaceni, Dosci, and Maeotae
12-13 The Achae, Zygii, and Heniochi
14 Geography of Colchis
15 Geography of the North Caucasus
16 Phasis
17 Colchis
18 The Argonauts and Mithridates
19 The Soanes

Chapter 3 – Iberia[edit]

Book Section Description
XI 1 Description of Caucasian Iberia
2 The Kura, Araks, Alazan, Sandobanes, Rhoetaces, and Chanes Rivers
3 Occupation of lowland and highland Iberians
4-5 Entry into Iberia
6 Social hierarchy of Iberia

Chapter 4 – Albania[edit]

Book Section Description
XI.2 1 The Caucasian Albanians
2 The Kura River
3 Agriculture of Caucasian Albania
4 Features of Caucasian Albanians
5 Military of Caucasian Albania, The Caspians, and entry into Caucasian Albania
6 Rulership and fauna of Caucasian Albania
7 Religion of Caucasian Albania
8 Traditions of Caucasian Albania

Chapter 5 – The Caucasus[edit]

Book Section Description
XI 1 The Amazons, Gargareans, Legae, and Gelae
2 The Mermodas River
3-4 Achievements of the Amazons
5 ?
6 Highest point of the Caucasus
7 The Troglodytae, Chamaecoets, and Polyphagi
8 The Siraces and Aorsi

Chapter 6 - The Caspian[edit]

Book Section Description
XI 1 The Caspian Sea
2 The Sacae and Massagetae
3-4 Criticisms of historical authors

Chapter 7 - East of the Caspian[edit]

Book Section Description
XI 1 The Dahae and other Scythian nomads
2 Hyrcania
3 The Ochus and Oxus Rivers
4 ?
5 ?

Chapter 8 - Geography of the Caspian and Iran[edit]

Book Section Description
XI 1 Georgaphy of the Caspian Sea
2 The Bactrians, Asii, Pasiani, Tochari, Sacaruli, Dahae. Sacae, and Massagetae
3 Georgaphy of the Iranian Desert
4-5 The Sacae
6-7 The Massagetae
8 More about the Scythian tribes
9 Measurements between locations in Scythia

Chapter 9 – Parthia[edit]

Book Section Description
XI 1 Parthia
2-3 History of Parthia

Chapter 10 – Aria and Margiana[edit]

Book Section Description
XI 1 Aria, Drangiana, Margiana, and Arachosia
2 Margiana

Chapter 11 – Bactria[edit]

Book Section Description
XI 1 Bactria
2 Cities of Bactria
3 The Bactrians and Sogdians
4 Cities created and destroyed by Alexander
5 Rivers of Sogdiana and Bactria
6 Alexander's planned expedition to Sogdiana
7-12 Measurements of the region

Chapter 12 - The Taurus Mountains[edit]

Book Section Description
XI 1 Georgaphy of the Taurus Mountains

Chapter 13 - Media[edit]

Book Section Description
XI 1 Media
2 Atropatene
3 The summer palace in Ganzaka
4 The Cadusii
6-7 Geography of Media
8 Tributes of Medes
9-11 Traditions of the Medes

Chapter 14 - Armenia[edit]

Book Section Description
XI 1-2 Armenia
3 Arax River
4 Geography of Armenia
5 Growth of Armenia
6 Artaxata
7 Rivers of Armenia
8 Lakes of Armenia
9 Mines and Cavalry of Armenia
10 Pompey and Tigranes
11 Measurements of Armenia
12-13 Strabo's account of the origin of the Armenians
14 Tribes near Armenia
15 Brief history of Armenia
16 Religion of Armenia

Book XII – Anatolia[edit]

Chapter 1–2 – Cappadocia[edit]

Chapter 3 – Pontus[edit]

Book Section Description
XII 1 The kingdom of Mithridates Eupator
3 Bithynians
5 Caucones whose domain extended from Mariandynia to the river Parthenius
6 The city of Heracleia
7 Rivers between Chalcedon and Heracleia
15 The plain of Themiscyra
16 The plain of Sidene
32 Pontic Comana

Chapter 4 – Bithynia[edit]

Book Section Description
XII 1 Surroundings of Bithynia on all four sides
2 Geography of the region south of Bithynia. The Astacene Gulf and the role of Bithynian kings in its history.
4 On the difficulty of marking the boundaries between the territories of the Bithynians, Phrygians and Mysians.

Chapter 5–7 – Galatia, Lycaonia and Pisidia[edit]

Chapter 8 – Phrygia[edit]

Book Section Description
XII 1 Phrygia, Mysia, and Bithynia, and the parts of Phrygia and Mysia
2 Debate as to whether the district around Sipylus is part of Greater of Lesser Phrygia
3 Lydians and other peoples

Book XIII – northern Aegean[edit]

Chapter 1 – Troad[edit]

Book Section Description
XII 1 Preamble to the region of the Troad with a brief discussion of sources, especially Homer
2 Regions of the Troad

Book XIV – eastern Aegean[edit]

Chapter 2 – Asia Minor[edit]

Book Section Description
XIV 5–13 Description of Rhodes. Commentary of the people, politics, and society of Rhodes. Includes description of the fallen Colossus of Rhodes.

Book XV – Persia, Ariana, the Indian subcontinent[edit]

Book XVI – Middle East[edit]


Chapter 1 – Assyria[edit]

Book Section Description
XVI 1-2 Assyria geographical extent.
4 Nineveh.
5-6 Babylon.
7 Borsippa.
8-9 Geography of Babylon
10 Canal Maintenance.
11 Aristobulus on Alexander.
12 Eratosthenes and hydrology.
13 Polycleitus and hydrology.
14 Babylonia production of resources
15 Asphaltus in Babylonia and its uses
16 Babylonia entyonym
17 Artemita and Persis
22–23 Cossaei, Paraetacene,Elymais.

Chapter 2 – Syria[edit]

Book Section Description
XVI 1-2 Syria geography.
3 General description Syria.
4-5 Cities of the Seleucis of Syria.
6 Rablah
7 Orontes River.
8 Regions of Syria.
9 Laodicea in Syria.
10 Apamea, Syria.
11 Parapotamia.
12 Laodiceia and the coast
13 Arwad
14 Aradii
15 Tyre, Sidon, and Aradus.
16 Mountains and Rivers of Syria.
17 Macras
18 Massyas.
19 Abraham River
20 Damascus.
21 Borders of Coele-Syria
22 Borders of Phoenicia
23 Tyre
24 Sidon
25-26 Acre
27 Caesarea Maritima
28 Jaffa
29 Tel Ashkelon
30 Gaza City
31 Raphia
33 Sinai and Negev
34 Judea and environs
35-37 Origins of the Jews
38-39 Relating Judaism to Stocism
40 History of the Jews
41 Jericho
42-45 Dead Sea and environs
46 History of the Jews

Chapter 3 – Persian Gulf[edit]

Book Section Description
XVI 1-5 Persian Gulf description.
6 General description Red Sea.
7 Persian Gulf.

Chapter 4 – Arabia[edit]

Book Section Description
XVI 1 Arabia description from Eratosthenes.
2-3 Nabatea, Sabæans, and other nations
4-8 Shores of Arabia & Africa
9-16 Africa
17-18 Troglodytae
19 Sabeans
20 Red Sea
21 Nabataea
22-24 History of the Romans in Arabia#Gallus's expedition
25 Discussion of aromatic plants and Arabian people's culture
26 Nabataeans

Book XVII – North Africa[edit]

Chapter 1 – Nile, Egypt, Cyrenaica[edit]

Book Section Description
17 1–2 Eratosthenes on the Nile and surrounding people.
3 The Nile in Ethiopia. The organization of Egypt, nomes, classes, comments on the Labyrinth.
4 The Nile in the Nile Delta.
5 Source of the Nile. Greek writers about the Nile. Definition of the name Aegypt.
6 Harbours of Alexandria, Pharos Island. Julius Caesar. Founding of the city by Alexander the Great.
7 Importance of Alexandria. Lake Mareotis.
8 Details about Alexandria. Ptolemy I Soter steals Alexanders body. Perdiccas is slain. Roxana departes for Macedonia.
9 Lighthouse of Alexandria. Other temples and buildings, Lochias (promontory), Royal palace, Antirrhodos (island), Theatre, Poseidium, Emporium, Timonium, Caesarium, Heptastadium.
10 More details about Alexandria. More buildings and structures. The Sarapium. Emperor Augustus defeats Mark Antony.
11 The Ptolemaic dynasty.
12–13 Egypt as a Roman province. Roman Legions. Polybius' visit to Alexandria.
14 Coastal cities from Cyrenaica to Alexandria. About wine.
15 Papyrus, Cyperus and Cyperus papyrus in the Deltaic marshes and lakes.
16–17 Road to Canopus. Temple of Sarapis.
18 Nile mounts in the Delta, Canopic (Canopus), Bolbitine (Rosetta), Sebennytic (Buto), Phantnitic (Damietta), Mendesian (Mendes), Tanitic (Tanis) and Pelusiac (Pelusium).
19 (sect. 19–21: Interior of the mouth of the river Nile; expulsion of foreigners; difficulty in entering Egypt.) cities Xoïs, Hermupolis, ... Mendes, ...
20 Athribis ... Tanis
21 Pelusium ... Heroönpolis
22 Lake Mareia, ...
23 ... Naucratis, Saïs
24 discord among the Egyptians over the schoenus (i.e. a unit of distance)
25 city of Arsinoê; canal through the Bitter Lakes to the Gulf of Suez
26 Heroönpolis ... Phacussa
27–39 ...
40 Cynonpolis ('City of Dogs'), ... ; overview of different animals worshipped by separate Egyptian groups or by all Egyptians in common
41 Hermopolitic garrison, Thebaïc garrison, ...
42 ... Abydus
43 the oracle at Ammon visited by Alexander the Great
44 temple of Osiris in Abydus; city of Tentyra
45 cities Berenicê (at the Red Sea), Myus Hormus, Coptus ... ; mines of smaragdus
46 Thebes
47 city Hermonthis; a City of Crocodiles; a City of Aphroditê; Latopolis; a City of Hawks; Apollonospolis
48 Syenê; Elephantinê; nilometer
49 the First Cataract, above Elephantinê; settlement Philae, holding an Aethiopian bird in honour
50–54 ...

Chapter 2[edit]

Book Section Description
17 1–3 Ethiopia
4-5 ...

Chapter 3[edit]

Book Section Description
17 1–25 ...

Editorial history[edit]

Some thirty manuscripts of Geographica or parts of it have survived, almost all of them medieval copies of copies, though there are fragments from papyrus rolls which were probably copied out c. 100–300 AD. Scholars have struggled for a century and a half to produce an accurate edition close to what Strabo wrote. A definitive one (by translator Stefan Radt) has been in publication since 2002, appearing at a rate of about a volume a year.[16]

Editions and translations[edit]

Ancient Greek[edit]

  • Kramer, Gustav, ed., Strabonis Geographica, 3 vols, containing Books 1–17. Berlin: Friedericus Nicolaus, 1844–52.

Ancient Greek and English[edit]

  • Strabo (1917–1932). Horace Leonard Jones (ed.). The Loeb Classical Library: The Geography of Strabo: in Eight Volumes. Translated by Jones; John Robert Sitlington Sterrett. Cambridge, Massachusetts/London: Harvard University Press/William Heinemann. ISBN 0-674-99055-2. Contains Books 1–17, Greek on the left page, English on the right. Sterrett translated Books I and II and wrote the introduction before dying in 1915. Jones changed Sterrett's style from free to more literal and finished the translation. The Introduction contains a major bibliography on all aspects of Strabo and a definitive presentation of the manuscripts and editions up until 1917.



  • Radt, Stefan (translator; critical apparatus) (2002–2011). Strabons Geographika. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Books I–XVII in ten volumes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Strabo, and Duane W Roller. The Geography of Strabo. New York, Cambridge University Press, 2014, pp. 51
  2. ^ Dueck, Daniela (2000). Strabo of Amasia: A Greek Man of Letters in Augustan Rome. London, New York: Routledge: Taylor & Francis Group. p. 145. ISBN 0-415-21672-9.
  3. ^ Book 3 chapter 1 section 1 1st sentence, page C136.
  4. ^ Book 3 chapter 4 section 5 last sentence, page C158.
  5. ^ Book 6 chapter 1 section 2, page C253.
  6. ^ Book 9 chapter 5 section 14, page C435.
  7. ^ Book 2 chapter 5 section 17, page C120, Jones translation.
  8. ^ Ad. Att. 2. 6. 1.
  9. ^ Sterrett, Loeb Edition, pages xxii–xxiii.
  10. ^ Sterrett, Loeb Edition, page xxvii.
  11. ^ Dueck page 146 on Strabo Book 4, Chapter 6, Book 9, page C206.
  12. ^ Strabo, and Duane W Roller. The Geography of Strabo. New York, Cambridge University Press, 2014, pp. 51–52.
  13. ^ Book I sections 22–23.
  14. ^ Strabo rotates the Pyrenees to form the east side of Iberia, which is correspondingly distorted.
  15. ^ In fact adjacent Cape St. Vincent is further west but Sagres Point was the Sacred Cape.
  16. ^ "Print and online editions of the Greek text of Strabo's Geography". strabo.ca.

External links[edit]

The text of Strabo online

Other links