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Timosthenes of Rhodes (Greek: Τιμοσθένης) (fl. 270 BCE) was a Greek navigator and geographer.

In the 280s-270s BCE, Timosthenes served as the admiral and chief pilot of the navy of King Ptolemy II Philadelphus of Egypt. He wrote a periplus (a book of sailing directions) in ten books (now lost), and was much admired and cited by other geographers such as Eratosthenes and Strabo.[1] Indeed, Marcian of Heraclea went so far as to accuse Eratosthenes' Geographica of being nothing but the wholesale plagiarism of Timosthenes work.[2] Strabo says only that Eratosthenes preferred Timosthenes "above any other writer, though he often decides even against him."[3]

According to the later Greek geographer Agathemerus (fl.250 CE), Timosthenes of Rhodes developed a system of twelve winds by adding four winds to the classical eight, introducing the complete 12-point Classical compass winds of Classical Antiquity.[4] Timosthenes was arguably the first of the Greek geographers to use the winds for geographic orientation, rather than merely as meteorological phenomena.

Strabo reports that Timosthenes wrote a "Pythian mood" for a musical contest at the Pythian games at Delphi. Timosthenes's strain, accompanied by flute and cithara, celebrated the contest between Apollo and the serpent Python.[5]

Mount Timosthenes in Antarctica is named after him. .


  1. ^ e.g. Strabo (vol. II), Aczel (2001) Riddle of the Compass, New York: Harcourt, p.42-44
  2. ^ E.H. Bunbury,(1879) A History of Ancient Geography among the Greeks and Romans: from the earliest ages till the fall of the Roman Empire. New York: Murray (p.588)
  3. ^ Strabo (Bk. 2, c.1, s.40:p.139)
  4. ^ Agathemerus Geographia, Lib.1, (Ch.2 p.178)
  5. ^ Strabo (vol. II, Bk. 9.c.3.s9, p.120)