Strabo

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Strabo as depicted in a 16th-century engraving

Strabo (64 BC – 24 AD) was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.

Quotes[edit]

  • And Macedonia, of course, is a part of Greece.
    • Strab. VII, Frg. 9 (Loeb, H.L. Jones)

Geographica, 7 BC[edit]

  • What is now called Macedonia was in earlier times called Emathia. And it took its present name from Macedon, one of its early chieftains. And there was also a city emathia close to the sea. Now a part of this country was taken and held by certain of the Epeirotes and the Illyrians, but most of it by the Bottiaei and the Thracians. The Bottiaei came from Crete originally, so it is said, along with Botton as chieftain. As for the Thracians, the Pieres inhabited Pieria and the region about Olympus; the Paeones, the region on both sides of the Axius River, which on that account is called Amphaxitis; the Edoni and Bisaltae, the rest of the country as far as the Strymon. Of these two peoples the latter are called Bisaltae alone, whereas a part of the Edoni are called Mygdones, a part Edones, and a part Sithones. But of all these tribes the Argeadae, as they are called, established themselves as masters, and also the Chalcidians of Euboea; for the Chalcidians of Euboea also came over to the country of the Sithones and jointly peopled about thirty cities in it, although later on the majority of them were ejected and came together into one city, Olynthus; and they were named the Thracian Chalcidians.
    • Book 7, Fragm 11
  • The Aegean sea washes Greece on two sides: first, the side that faces towards the east and stretches from Sunium, towards the north as far as the Thermaean Gulf and Thessaloniceia, a Macedonian city...; and secondly, the side that faces towards the south, I mean the Macedonian country, extending from Thessaloniceia as far as the Strymon.
    • 7.7.4-5
  • There remain of Europe, first, Macedonia and the part of Thrace that are contiguous to it and extend as far as Byzantium; secondly, Greece; and thirdly, the Islands that are close by. Macedonia, of course, is a part of Greece, yet now, since I am following the nature and shape of the place geographically, I have decided to classify it apart from the rest of Greece and to join it with that part of Thrace...
    • VII, Frg. 9, Loeb
  • Three classes inhabited the city (Alexandria in Egypt): first the Aegyptian or native stock of people, who were quick-tempered and not inclined to civil life; and secondly the mercenary class, who were severe and numerous and intractable...; and, third, the tribe of the Alexandrians, who also were not distinctly inclined to civil life, and for the same reasons, but still they were better than those others, for even though they were a mixed people, still they were Greeks by origin and mindful of the customs common to the Greeks.
    • 17.1.12-13

Quotes about Strabo[edit]

  • According to Strabo the Tyrians paid particular attention to the sciences of numbers, navigation, and astronomy; they had, we know, considerable commerce with their neighbours and kinsmen the Chaldaeans.
  • Strabo, traveling in North Africa ... [did not find] its women in the army but found that they ruled the country politically, while the men were still without significance in the state, occupying themselves largely with body care and hair-do, greedy for golden jewelry with which to bedeck themselves. The Berbers of our times ....[,] [n]ear the Atlas Mountains, ... have preserved a strong gynocracy. In some Tuareg tribes, the women perpetuate the old culture and know Old Libyan writing and literature. Their men wear veils and remain illiterates.
    • Helen Diner Mothers and Amazons (trans. 1965 (original 1930s)), p. 137.
  • Strabo,... enters largely, in the Second Book of his Geography, into the opinions of Eratosthenes and other Greeks on one of the most difficult problems in geology, viz., by what causes marine shells came to be plentifully buried in the earth at such great elevations and distances from the sea. He notices, amongst others, the explanation of Xanthus the Lyclian, who said that the seas had once been more extensive, and that they had afterwards been partially dried up, as in his own time many lakes, rivers, and wells in Asia had failed during a season of drought. Treating this conjecture with merited disregard, Strabo passes on to the hypothesis of Strato, the natural philosopher, who had observed that the quantity of mud brought down by rivers into the Euxine was so great, that its bed must be gradually raised, while the rivers still continued to pour in an undiminished quantity of water. He therefore conceived that, originally, when the Euxine was an inland sea, its level had by this means become so much elevated that it burst its barrier near Byzantium, and formed a communication with the Propontis, and this partial drainage had already, he supposed, converted the left side into marshy ground, and that, at last, the whole would be choked up with soil. So, it was argued, the Mediterranean had once opened a passage for itself by the Columns of Hercules into the Atlantic, and perhaps the abundance of sea-shells in Africa, near the Temple of Jupiter Ammon, might also be the deposit of some former inland sea, which had at length forced a passage and escaped.
  • In another place, this learned geographer [Strabo], in alluding to the tradition that Sicily had been separated by a convulsion from Italy, remarks, that at present the land near the sea in those parts was rarely shaken by earthquakes, since there were now open orifices whereby fire and ignited matters and waters escaped; but formerly, when the volcanoes of Etna, the Lipari Islands, Ischia, and others, were closed up, the imprisoned fire and wind might have produced far more vehement movements. The doctrine, therefore, that volcanoes are safety valves, and that the subterranean convulsions are probably most violent when first the volcanic energy shifts itself to a new quarter, is not modern.
  • We learn from a passage in Strabo, that it was a dogma of the Gaulish Druids that the universe was immortal, but destined to survive catastrophes both of fire and water. That this doctrine was communicated to them from the East, with much of their learning, cannot be doubted.

External links[edit]

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