Michael Cornebise: Ancient Greek Geography

By: TechEIU

[unclear dialogue] >> Dr. Lanham: Good afternoon. My name is Alan Lanham. I am Dean of Library Services and it is a pleasure to welcome you to the continuation of our series on Ancient Greece. And today there are several activities, including the one you are in now, and then there's one the next hour right here. Consult your brochures that I think were handed out at the door, and this evening at 7:00 in the Library Atrium is you can sit in the coliseum and see Greek theatre presented by Eastern Students. Everything is free of course, and so, I hope you'll partake of those tomorrow. There is a film, and then next week there is a variety of disciplines represented by faculty members addressing us, as will happen today.

So, we are happy that you are here and hope that you, too, become intrigued in the world of ancient Greece, and how it is still alive in our thoughts and actions today. To introduce our speaker, I present the coordinator of this series, Dr. Wafeek Wahby, from the School of Technology.

>> Dr. Wahby: Welcome to the Geography session of Ancient Greece. And last year we spent some time with Egypt, ancient Egypt, this year a futuristic look through ancient lenses take us to a natural progression to ancient Greece. And if you read the news today, our speaker said that we trace our geography knowledge back to Greece, something like that, I do not know, ask him, and before I introduce him, or just to introduce him well, he introduced Dr. Alan Barharlou last year, so I asked him to come and introduce him today. >> Dr.

Barharlou: Thanks, Wafeek. As you all know, geography is the most fundamental feature of the planet earth. The land, the sea, the vegetation, the presence of water, climate, is the most important factor affecting distribution of human species and their accomplishment and their culture, their art. And fortunately, we have an accomplished scholar, published many papers, traveled many places, Dr. Michael Cornebise, to give you that picture and haul that geography, that city, that land form, effecting one of the most significant ancient civilization. Which, by the way, set many patterns, ideas, philosophies that we still follow from that land. So, with going further, Dr. Michael Cornebise. Not to mention, he is my son-in-law.

>> Dr. Cornebise: I was just going to say, in interest of full disclosure, he is my father-in-law, so thank you for those kind words. I also would like to recognize really quickly, Dean Lanham, and Wafeek Wahby for putting this together. They have done a great job. Please come and see some of the other activities going on. I'd also like to personally recognize Professor Lee Patterson, who provided me with some great reading material on Strabo.

We'll be talking in a little bit about him, and I am going to invite you, if I make any mistakes, please let me know. Ok, now, first of all I need to put on my professor hat, because my classes are here right now, so bear with me for just a sec everyone, I have a few announcements for my students, and then I'll get right into my presentation. Ok I am wearing two hats today. Guys I just want to remind you that next Tuesday, your video reaction papers are due, those are the video options, the European union on the modern Greece that we saw, Microcredit copy go round, and then this time next week, you guys are going to be sweating out an exam, all right? So be ready for that. The rest of you can breathe a sigh of relief; I am not going to give you a test next Thursday. Ok, so lets' get right into the talk, and this is a general outline for today's discussion. First of all I am going to set things up by taking a look at Greek geographic thought and context, give you a little bit of background to you know to get into the rest of the discussion. Discussing a little bit about Greece's physical setting, because we can't really understand this full geographic import, without understanding the physical attributes of Greece itself.

Then what I'm going to do is focus on some very important Greek geographers, now there are a whole host of ancient Greek geographers that I can concentrate on, so what I've done is decide to narrow it down to three that I think have had the greatest impact. There are others, certainly, so I don't want to sound like I am leaving anybody out. But Eratosthenes, Strabo, that Dr. Patterson helped me out with, and Ptolemy, and then we'll sum things up by taking a look at Greek contributions to modern geographic practices, because as Professor Barharlou stated, we are still living with the legacies you know of those ancient Greek ideas, and ancient Greek thought. OK, but before we jump right into it, I want to orient you in some of the locations we are going to be looking at. Now this is a map of some classical Greece, as you can see about 450 BC, and just want to point out a few areas, of course, Athens, kind of the hub of everything, if you will. Here is Athens, located right here.

This is the Athenian empire about that same time, with its allied states in red, and then the subjects in green, and as you can see, quite active throughout this area, including the Aegean sea, today what we call the Sea of Marmara, the Black Sea up here as well. We are also going to talk briefly about the city of Miletus, which is located here, Miletus, known as an Ionian city. Ok, at its height, quite a bit of power, in Miletus, also just want to orient you to the Island of Rhodes, I will mention that along the way, and then just here's Crete and Cyprus. And then just to orient you further, this is the modern country of Turkey. So, in general that's where we are going to be going. And let me expand on that, even though we are talking about the ancient Greeks, a few of these Greek geographers were actually active during the Roman Empire. OK, particularly Ptolemy, who we will be talking about at the end.

But, I want to introduce a few areas here. First of all, Cisareny, which is located here, modern day country Libya, located on the coast, of course, Alexandria, I am sure you are all familiar with in Egypt, and then Pontus, which is located right up here, on the southeastern coast of the Black Sea. The other thing I want to impress upon you is that even though, think back to the map that I just showed you about the Athena Empire, which is relatively compact compared to the greater roman empire. Well it was the expansion of the roman empire that gave more import to more of these Greek ideas and allowed the Greek scholars to expand, not just their knowledge of the world at that time, but to come in contact with other groups of people that further fed in to their knowledge of geography and other disciplines as well. Ok, and also I've got Aswan down here and we are going to talk about that's one that will prove to be important city here.

Ok, so a little bit of background to get things started. The Greeks no way around it, they were generally what we'd call universal scholars, they were polymaths. Ok, meaning that they didn't just study geography, at least the geographers I am going to be speaking of. They were philosophers, historians, physicists, political scientists, mathematicians, biologists, all at the same time.

OK. And as a matter of fact, if we were to bring many of these Greek scholars back to the present, they wouldn't recognize these, what we define as relatively narrow disciplines. They would think well that is sort of strange that you would have this narrow discipline of geography as it is defined today.

So, there was really a lack of disciplinary boundary lines. And that's not to say that we can't identify many of these geographers, particularly in that light. But just realize that with, we are talking more broadly about scientists now, and they drew from many, many disciplines, Mathematics, philosophy, things of that nature as well.

We also, need I guess to ascertain that the term geography comes from the ancient Greek. Geo - graphia, and those of you who have taken my class, know that that's one of the first things we start off with, so you are well aware of that, but geography really means to write about or describe the earth. And where you see graph, you might think, well that probably means to map. Correct? Well, yes, and no. Ancient geography was not just about mapping, although we are going to be talking about the influences of mapping. It is more about description, and descriptive aspects of the earth.

Now geography is in and of itself a synthesizing field. And my class can tell you right now; we just got through talking about economic issues. We just got through talking about the political issues related to geography, so they are well aware of drawing from these different disciplines. Geography is very much a synthesizing field and the Greeks too were also great synthesizers of past and also contemporary knowledge. As a matter of fact, we owe a great debt of gratitude to many of these scholars because they gave us this gift of that past knowledge then were able to pass it along down the line. So, as was mentioned earlier, we still draw from that knowledge. OK, taking a look at the context now, the ancient Greeks of course originally believed that the earth was flat.

Think of it as a saucer, sort of a saucer shape. It was round, but it was flat, and it wasn't until Pythagoras discovered that the earth was in fact a sphere. Ok, so we attribute that to Pythagoras. Before that, and even after that time, let me just do a quick drawing up here, we have an ocean, ok the earth ocean that runs at a circular pattern around the periphery, the peripheral area. But, being flat of course, this posed some problems. What happens if you go too far to the end of the earth? You fall off, right? Now eventually of course, it was discovered that it was a sphere, and of course that changed thinking. The other thing we really need to impress upon you is that the Greeks had a very ethnocentric worldview.

Now this isn't to pick on the Greeks, because the Greeks, like everybody else, tend to think of themselves as well, we are a bit special and so, Greece was the center of their universe. As a matter of fact, they made the distinction between themselves, the Greek cultures of the civilized people that had adopted the Greek, you know, had been colonized by the Greeks, and then of course the barbarians, those in the outer reaches, who had not been civilized. The maps I am going to show you though, the one thing you will notice, is that Greece is definitely indicated at the center of those maps. Well, Homer wasn't on my initial list but we can't start a discussion of Greek geography without talking about Homer. As a matter of fact, many of the Greek geographers indicate that he was the quote unquote Father of geography, even though I am going to give that title to somebody else here in a little bit.

And of course, Homer, most famous for his two works, the Iliad, at least what we attribute to Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey. Iliad more of a historical account, but the Odyssey a very much a geographic account of the fringes of the known world at the time, and keep in mind this was written in the 8th century B.C.E. And if you remember the odyssey from way back when, it's been a while since I read the Odyssey, but one of the things you may recall, is a Odysseus Encountering of strange beings, of course, now keep in mind that the gods were involved all along the way in this process, but one of the things, if you read sort of between the lines, he encounters strange lands, one of which we see the sun, almost 24 hours of sunlight and then in another case, encountering of a land where you have almost complete darkness. Well, this indicates that the Greeks at least had knowledge of the northern reaches of Europe, where you have that situation in the summer and winter months, when you get very little sunlight in one case, and very little darkness in the other case.

So this is grounded, I guess the point I am trying to make is that the Odyssey is grounded in geographic knowledge. And there have been attempts to try to trace out the geography of his trek, but it's very difficult obviously to do that. Ok, so speaking about the maps, this is a world map at the time of Hecate of Miletus, there is Miletus that we were talking about before. From the 5th Century B.C.E. and notice what is at dead center of this map. It is Miletus. Ok, so no surprise there, I guess you could say.

A couple things about this map, that you know we need to consider, one is there is that ocean we were talking about that occupies the periphery of our map, and then we notice Europe the further north you go in Europe, the more non-descript it is, very little in the way of detail. Same is true in Africa, and Asia. One thing you might notice specifically in Asia, is that Persia and India, that's as far east as it goes. Ok, so knowledge of China and other areas still very much you know, not there. But the other thing you should notice is the fair amount of detail in the Mediterranean area. Ok, we notice the boot heel of Italy, of Greece itself, the Aegean, sea of Miramar, Black sea, Sea of {unclear dialogue] there is fair amount of detail there, and we also see the same thing in Egypt, with Memphis, and the situation there with the delta. So, that's fairly accurate if you want to put it in those terms, and a fair amount of detail there as you move away from that center of Miletus, though, you see that begin to break down. So, we discuss the river ocean running clockwise around the earth perimeter, and in the Mediterranean Sea for all intents and purposes split the world in half at that time, and you can see how that plays out.

Now this schemata over here, just shows what we've been talking about Greece as the center of the universe, It wasn't just the center of the earth, it was the center of the universe because this was when they envisioned the earth, or the universe as geocentric, meaning the earth was the center, rather than heliocentric, the sun being the center of the solar system anyway. So, we have Greece here in the center, Africa, Europe, and then we have a few groups such as the Celtic people, the Scythians, the Persians, who the Greeks regarded as barbarians. They were not part of what they call the Greek, the broader Greek ecumene from the beginning. We are going to talk about ecumene here in just a minute, but anyway from the earliest times you can see that the Greeks envisioned themselves as the very center of their universe.

Ok, I just wanted to share with you some of the built landscape here; this is getting back to Homer. One of the things you have to keep in mind, is that early seafarers that produced an awful lot of these maps. They didn't have very sophisticated instrumentations and things of that nature.

So, they oftentimes relied on the winds to help them navigate. This is a structure known as the tower of the winds in Athens, It indicates at the time what they called the eight wind directions. Each of these freezes up here indicates one of those, it is octagon, and eight sided, also served as a clock tower, with a sundial. Now a few of the examples, I am not going to put all eight down, but the mariners back in the day called the North Wind the Boreas, the north wind was strong, cool, and brought clear skies. So whenever they saw those conditions, they reasoned that that wind was coming from the north, and that helped them try to figure out which direction they were going. By contrast, Zephyrus here, west wind was balmy, brought in humid conditions, sort of like today, I guess you could say, but also gale force winds, so it could also be difficult to sail under those conditions. And then I didn't include the rest, but you get the idea that they utilized wind to help them navigate back in the day before more sophisticated methods for doing that very thing. Ok, now this isn't meant to be an advertisement for Greece, although these aren't half bad here, you know, how would you like to be on this white sandy beach today? Not a bad thing to do, but Greece, in terms of its physical setting, located on the Balkan Peninsula, very mountainous, made up of island groups, as we've learned in my class this semester, this is what we would call a fragmented country.

One that is not contiguous, matter of fact, it is noted in the lack of the fact that it is not contiguous. Also made up mainly of limestone soils, ok, and you can see that very clearly here, because of this geography, the ancient Greeks were very Maritime oriented. And that's why they were great seafarers. And this is what linked up the empire. It was a sea-oriented society, maritime oriented society. The other thing we need to consider is when you have a fragmented country, it can be very difficult to keep things together.

This could be what we call a centrifugal force. It tends to pull the country apart. And Greece certainly had that situation. Now notice we are talking about its core physical setting, because as we discussed before, the Greeks established their empire outside of their core as well and the Roman's even extended it further from that point. But the core of Greece, thinking about it as a core in periphery type of situation, very mountainous island groups and just to reiterate that fragmentation here, we can see that quite clearly here. Very, very mountainous, it doesn't show up here on this map here, but you can get the situation, you can get the gist of that through this map. Ok, what I'm going to do now is depart from that, and focus in on the three geographers that I identified earlier.

And I am going to start with Eratosthenes and by the way these dates, when you start looking around, and Lee is nodding his head, it's hard to nail down these dates, and you find a different source, it can be a completely different date. I just wanted you to realize what I've done for these three geographers, is gotten these from the same source, so that hopefully you know it's going to be relatively accurate but he was from Cyrene here, which is once again the Northern coast of Africa, what is today, Libya. I mentioned that a lot of Greek geographers thought Homer to be the Father of Geography, but Eratosthenes in more recent circles is deemed that and one of the reasons is that he was credited with coining the term Geography. He also had many other things going to though. He served as the chief librarian in the museum and Dean Lanham, don't know if you know this or not, but this is one of the top scholarly positions of the day. I mean, if you were the chief librarian, boy that was top dog.

It was almost like being the chair of the Geography/Geology department, right up there with that. So anyway, he served as chief librarian in the Alexander museum, meaning he had a top position in society. One of the things he is most known for, in the area of geography anyway is he accurately calculated the earth's circumference. And what's kind of interesting, is his calculation if we translate that into miles, was about 25,000 miles in circumference, and if you take a look at the actual circumference with modern equipment, it's about 24,860, so he wasn't that far off.

Fairly accurate. You know, ability to do this. So how did he do it? That is the question. You know, sort of like how did the Egyptians build the pyramids. How did he figure this out? Well, it's kind of interesting. And, this is where I want to back away a little bit and talk about geography you know I like to make the assertion that geographers are great observers, and to be a good geographer, you have to be a good observer to see what is going on in the landscape.

Well, this is a good example, of Eratosthenes serving as an excellent observer, because what he realized and this is S1, what is today S1 on the summer solstice. And what they noticed on the summer solstice in a particular well, this is a deep well; they could see the entirety of the sun in this well, meaning that the sun was directly overhead. The sun's rays were directly overhead. I mentioned that he was from Cyrene, but of course, he spent most of his days in Alexandria, so back in Alexandria using an obelisk here, which is, this is effectively a sundial. He realized that the suns rays were not coming down directly because there was a shadow, so what he did was he measured that shadow, and understanding, well, here, let me move to the next slide, maybe this will make a little bit more sense to you, we have the light from the sun coming down to this is Aswan Cyrene, ok, which is coming down directly, it is also coming down at this directly here on Alexandria, but well it is coming in this direction, but the obelisk, of course, you are seeing that shadow showing up. And he calculated this to be at seven degrees.

At seven degrees. The caption here states, on the day of the summer solstice, as sunlight fell to the bottom of the well, at Cyrene, but the sun was about 1/50th of a circle, about seven degrees, south of the zenith at Alexandria, this told Eratosthenes that the distance from Cyrene to Alexandria was 1/50th of the circumference of the earth. Using that knowledge, he was able to calculate fairly accurately the radius of the earth. Now one of the things, that sounds all well and good, right? However, what is kind of interesting about this is he assumed that Alexandria and Cyrene were on the same meridian. Ok, Meridians are lines of class, what is a meridian again? Kathleen? Line of Longitude.

Absolutely. He assumed they were on the, they were not. Ok, there's actually Alexandria is about 3 degrees to the north and the west of Cyrene. But it just turns out that despite that error, he was able to calculate this, because there was also another error in the distance between Cyrene and Alexandria. Which was calculated using stadia at the time, the length of a stadium that was a length of measure. Of course we translate that today into miles. And it comes out to be about 500 miles.

There was a little discrepancy there, and it turns out it was almost a wash though. The differences in the errors made it fairly accurate. Ok, so getting back to the part, if the earth was flat, it was also proved of course that the earth was not flat, because if it was, then the rays would be direct in both Cyrene and Alexandria at the summer solstice, but that wasn't the case, so that indicated that there was curvature to the earth, and once again, as we talked about this was the way that he indicated that.

Of couse, 800 km that's 500 miles, and that's how he got very, very close to the actual circumference of the earth. So that's one of his, you know, one of the ways that he contributed greatly to the discipline of geography. The tropic of cancer is roughly about 23.5 degrees north latitude. I say roughly because it actually varies. You may not have thought about that a whole lot, but it can vary year to year on the basis of where the sun is at its zenith, on the summer solstice.

And its roughly about 23.5 degrees. Not a surprise, Cyrene is located pretty close to that border, tropic of cancer, and then of course Alexandria located on the coast. Ok, so that was one of his contributions. He also prepared a world map using lines of latitude and longitude and he used, not surprised here, his prime meridian ran through Aexandria. Ok, getting back to this idea of ethnocentrism playing out, that was definitely the case. The other thing, another contribution if you will, is he extended the ecumene at the time, Ecumene is a Greek word, and we did talk about this in my geography class earlier, and it refers to the habitable portion of the earth. But, it is changed, actually changed meaning over time. We'll talk about that here in a second.

The other thing that Eratosthenes did at this time, was that he identified five zones of quote, unquote, habitability. Where humans can live on the planet. He had the torrid zone, which is associated with the tropics, and in the idea of the Greeks in the torrid zone, it was too hot. People were too lethargic in that area, and so civilization couldn't flourish in the tropical areas. Two temperate zones on either side of that, and then bookended by two frigid zones, as we move towards the poles. And the frigid zones, as well, civilizations couldn't flourish there, because they were too cold.

So, the two temperate zones, that's where the Greeks were found, and other groups as well. So in other words, that was the ecumene. Now the meaning of the ecumene has changed over time. As a matter of fact, the ecumene referred to Greek civilization.

That was the ecumene, but as a matter of fact, as the Romans began to expand, the ecumene, as it was thought of, also began to expand, and change over time. Anyway that was Eratosthenes. Now we are moving on to Strabo, and once again those dates, I am not sure those correspond with all the dates, pretty close, I think, 63 BCE to 21 CE. He was from Pontus, which is on the Southeastern coast of the black sea here. Amecea located right here, although he spent a lot of his time out of this area, he did come back towards his later years to his home territory.

Ok, so Strabo as we were talking about earlier, he was a geographer, he was a historian, and also a philosopher. He was all of these things. He was, and this is where I can mention that one of Lee's contributions I think is showing, demonstrating how Strabo can also be an effinographer as well. He dealt a lot, or matter of fact, ascertain aspects of kinship by reading Strabo, and Lee has done that very thing. So, other applications here, not just geography, history, and philosophy, we can think of this in terms of anthropology as well. Now, his principle work was entitled the Geography was 17 volumes.

There were 8 books devoted to to Europe, six to Asia and only one to Africa. and he had two other books where he talked about his sources, he described his method, and things of that nature, but this is a massive, massive, work and the interesting thing about this, was in its day, it wasn't really thought of much. It really wasn't matter of fact Plyne the elder who had written another treatise on georgraphy soon thereafter didn't even mention it.

It wasn't mentioned but it was several hundred years later that people picked back up on Strabo and realized what a great resource it really was. And continues to be, as a matter of fact. Strabo, one of his major contributions was he was a compiler of earlier Greek geographic work. Matter of fact, we talked about Eratosthenes.

We don't have a whole lot of records of Eratosthenes, but Strabo did, and a lot that we know about Eratosthenes we learn through Strabo. Much of his work is descriptive in nature. As a matter of fact, he thought that at least my reading of it, that Eratosthenes was a little bit too hung up with the mathematical side, and he thought we need to get down and actually describe what is going on in these areas. And in fact that is what he did. A lot of description. And that has served as a wealth of information for a lot of scholars, as a matter of fact. That descriptive work. And that in turn, you know, I guess it's worth mentioning that that in a sense sort of divides geography as it is today.

We have sort of the applied aspect of geography, the map making portion of the geographic information, sciences, maybe transportation, things of that nature, then we also have the descriptive side of geography. Strabo, even though we drew from the applied aspect, he was very much on the descriptive side of things. However, he was, if you look at his readings here, very geographically, geographical determinism I should say played a big role. Culture groups were ascribed characteristics based on locational attributes.

Now, before we pick on Strabo, keep in mind that what we call later environmental determinism was a big issue back 80 years ago, even here in this country. People like Huntington, a geographer, thought that people were the way they were because of the environment created them, essentially. Climate played a big role in how culture groups developed. Well, we take a more nuance approach to that now, I would say, environmental determinism, geographical determinism, is less important.

The role of culture today is more important because, and we know this because, looking at, for example, the torrid zone in the tropic, we have many different culture groups that have developed there, and have come up with many different ways of adapting to those climatological controls, or maybe control isn't the right word, limitations potentially is a better word there. But the Greeks did ascribe cultural attributes to people who were found in particular climate zones. This is Strabo's world map ca. 18 CE and you notice it does differ a little bit from the map we saw previously for Eratosthenes. Still an awful lot of detail in this area, you notice, of course we do have some of the mountain ranges that over here now. Well, he doesn't have the Alps on this one, but he did indicate the Alps and Strabo also thought that anyone who lived north of the Alps, couldn't be civilized. They were spending all their time sitting around fires trying to keep warm, to be civilized. So that was part of the barbarians that were indicated earlier. You notice, of course, we have India here to the extreme east, notice Africa is actually referred to as Lybia, and the Greeks did refer to it as that, but once again, quite a bit of detail here.

Also, the use of the grid system, the latitude and longitude that we think of today, implemented by Strabo as well. Ptolemy, and once again, these dates can differ quite substantially, from Alexandria. Ptolemy also had many hats. He was an astronomer, a mathemetician, a geographer, and also a physicist, probably most known in the field of astronomy, but he had quite a bit to do with in the area of geography as well. He also worked at the Library of Alexandria. So as we mentioned before, one of the top positions in the Greek world. Now keep in mind Ptolemy was in fact part of the Roman period. By that time Rome had taken over Greece, and I like to really to visualize this, Ptolemy was the bookends so to speak, the end of the era for ancient geographic thoughts.

So past Ptolemy it was several hundred years before we get back into that sort of discussion, more movement in the area of, particularly in geography but other areas as well. Ptolemy was really the end of an era. His major work was the Guide to Dry Maps of the World. It was an eight volume work. Ok, also sometimes it is just referred to as geography, the term geography. One of the major contributions in this case was this was the worlds first comprehensive what we call a gazetteer. Now there have been gazetteers before Ptolemy, so he wasn't the first one to publish a gazetteer. But he was the first one to publsih a compreshensive gazetteer for this region.

A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary, or a directory, or it would be sort of like an anotated atlas, where you've got several different components of this, you have the latitiude and longitude of an area, you may have the population listed these days, if you take a look at a modern gazetteer, you have the population, and then you have other attributes going on, or listed I should say in these areas. The other thing is, it assigned coordinates to all the places included. So, very systematic in his construction of this gazetteer. And unlike the previous geographers we talked about, he actually used a line through the canary islands or potentially Cape Vereda, there is still debate on that, as his prime meridian. And of course, the equator was at zero degrees latitude. But, prime meridian was much further to the west than was previously the case. And if we compare the maps of Ptolemy to Eratosthenes and Strabo, notice the difference in dates here.

I realize from where you are sitting, you can't see an awful lot of this detail, but this is the, his prime meridian of course. A little bit more detail for Africa, notice this is referred to as Africa, not Libya now, Libya is a sub component of that. Here is Europe up here, India, but notice these have moved further to the east there from India. Cythia is located up here as well. But once again, one of the major contributions was this aspect of ascribing coordinates to all the places and also describing, or including details, related to each of those.

So a handy reference point, if you want to put it that way, from the perspective of Ptolemy's work. So what are some of the Greek's impact on modern geography. Well, of course, we have been talking a lot about cartography, one of the greatest influences is in the area of cartography and cartography is the study of the practice of map making.

Ptolemy, in particular, worked an awful lot with map projections. One of the major challenges in geography is taking a 3D real world situation, from the earth and putting in on a 2D, two dimensional model. Flattening it out. And Ptolemy actually came up with some pretty sophisticated ways of dealing with that.

His projections to try to maintain equal area, or equal distance, things of that nature. He made quite a few strides in that regard. Mathematical location, the whole concept of mathematical location, latitude and longitude, being able to ascribe points to these places, and being able to locate them on the earth's surface. Also, the historical geography aspect.

People like Strabo for example, drawn from the descriptions of the geographers to give us that historical geography basis, or baseline. The other thing that I'd like to, that I haven't really talked about this, but another contribution of the Greek geographers is in the area of environmental awareness. Particularly today when we are concerned about climate change. And our human impacts on the environment. Well the Greeks too were aware of some of these issues.

There was a book that came out back in 1967 Clarence Glacken who is at UC Berkely, called "Traces on the Rhodian Shore". Classic book, all geographer, all geography grad students read it, I had to read it when I was Masters, I shouldn't say had to read, I got to read it, as a grad student, because an awful lot of great information here, but going back through this, as I was preparing for the talk, I realized that Glacken had because this is a look at how environmental awareness has changed over time, had prefaced the ancient Greeks. And the Greeks made reference to climate change due to human agency. On several occasions, one that he noted, Theophrastis, if I am pronouncing that right, realized that that draining of a large marsh led to the disappearance of olive trees in the area, and also led to colder local temperatures.

So this was a fairly large marsh, and when they drained it, for whatever reason, then these impacts became, they became aware of these impacts. All of our olive trees died as a result of this. Things began to freeze, to a greater extent, we had colder temperatures as a result of this. The result of human agencies, even Eratosthenes noted the negative impact of timber clearing, timber clear-cutting, on cypress.

They were using this for fuel, and also for agricultural expansion, they were also doing some copper mining here, and he noted the adverse impacts that those activities had on the landscape on Cypress. So, the Greeks made an awful lot of contributions to geography, but they've also made some contributions in the area of environmental awareness as well. On that point, speaking of that, I want to leave you with here is the Temple of Hara on Cicily, if we don't heed some of those you know, some of those ideas, particularly related to our environment, our civilzation could end up in ruins at some point as well.

So I just wanted to leave you with that idea. And open it up to any questions you might have. >> Dr.

Wahby: Thank you very much. You made geography appealing, not Greek to me. Any questions, we have a couple of minutes for a couple of questions. We are taping this, so this microphone is not for the sound per se, but for taping. So what questions do you have? I have a couple. If you don't contribute, I will. Will you please go back to the map slide. I have a couple of questions.

>> Dr. Cornebise: Which--which map? >> Dr. Wahby: The first map, the mid circle, or something, the earlier ones. That had the circle like that? Yes, that one.

First, how did the, this is one of the ancient ones I guess. How did they come up with all these details, how did they do it technically? DId they sail, or did they walk, or what? >> Dr. Cornebise: No, that is a really good question. Most of these were done by sailors. So people who were out sailing were the ones who were actually making these, creating these early maps. >> Dr. Wahby: So they sail a distance from the shore, and they say we keep the distance, and they just one of them would make a sketch as they go? >> Dr.

Cornebise: Correct. Yeah, these were sketch maps, for the most part. And that's one of the reasons they are fairly accurate around the medittearean, because they sail these, they were very intimate, they knew that coastline very well. And then they could reproduce it. That's why things began to break down as you move away from that center, it's just more speculation, it really is speculation.

>> Dr. Wahby: And going to the same sequence, if those sailors here I believe were the people on horses, or whatever, walking doing these land parts. >> Dr. Cornebise: Yes, that's true, although they also used for example, on the Nile, I mean the Nile was naturally, so a lot of the water bodies around there, but yes, the rest would be overland. >> Dr. Wahby: I may contribute here that the Nile was the easiest because when you are walking, you can just see both sides, so you can walk, walk, and just have it in front of you, just the sea is big, so you can't see the other side when you sail. >> Dr.

Cornebise: That's true. >> Dr. Wahby: Why is it that they stopped at this, and said this is the end of the world is here, be flat or something, Why not continue? >> Dr. Cornebise: Well, I think there was a real fear of what they would encounter to get too far away from the known world. >> Dr.

Wahby: If somebody takes his horse, and just goes, he'll continue going, nobody would fall. What idea of falling from the tip or the end of the world came, I mean, anybody? >>Audience member: Probably Homer. >>Dr.Cornbise: Go Ahead. >>Dr. Wahby: Homer said that? Not exactly. >> Dr.

Wabhy: Something like that? >> Dr. Patterson: One would get the impression. >> Dr.

Wahby: They believed him. >> Dr. Patterson: Homer carried a lot of authority. >> Dr.

Wahby: Oh really? >> Dr. Cornebise: Homer carried a lot of authority, even through to the age of Ptolemy, I mean that is what is so interesting. So a lot of the ideas of the fear of the cyclops, and so on and so forth, you are going to encounter these mythical beings if you move too far away from your home area.

Carried a lot of weight. >> Dr. Wahby: I tell my students, If you don't ask or make it interactive, I will continue, so. >> Dr. ?: Just to clarify, my understanding, because I am a historian, but my understanding is that like for example the world map of Hecataeus of Miletus this is just there is no manuscript that survives from ancient times that has a map on it, or of Hecataeus, even the map of Eratostagorus, that Herodtus says was presented to Cleomenes of Sparta, we don't actually have any maps, per se, any surviving manuscripts from the ancient world.

Is that correct? >> Dr. Crnebise: That is correct. In fact, a lot of these have been for lack of a better term, "doctored" along the way so to speak. Based on perceptions, and a lot of this even you might be able to add to this Strabo, because he had drawn an awful lot from what was [unclear dialogue} at the time was Athosthenes, and then that later disappeared. So, you are right, >> Dr.? I mean, we do have lot of detailed descriptions as you said, Geo-Graphia, so we have itineraries, we have descriptions, we have what are called paracluse descriptions of shore lines, and so on, and Strabo is a good example of excruciatingly detailed descriptions and distances, and so on, so we can reconstruct what we think they would have imagined their maps to look like, based on those descriptions, but I thought that was the case, I just wanted to make sure. >> Dr. Conebise: I agree.

That is true. >> Dr. Wahby: Any other questions? State your name please. >>Mike: I am Mike. I am one of the students. IN the Odyssey, when you travel from island to island, does that help [unclear dialogue] did that really help in the development of maps of the islands of Greece and I know Sicily [unclear dialogue] did that really help in the development of kind of mapping of all the Islands of Greece? >> Dr.

Cornebise: Well, I don't know how to quite answer that question. Because obviously that's a mythological story, but I guess from the perspective of geographers who came later, who tried to map it out, it may have had an impact. Lee do you have any insight on that? >> Lee: I do. Just briefly I'll say, if you read the actual [unclear dialogue] you don't have the [unclear dialogue] they superimposed on this mythological landscape and more scientific geographers especially had knowledge of the [unclear dialogue] they said ok, so [unclear dialogue] >>Dr. Wahby: Where do the get the idea of lining [unclear dialogue] >> Dr.

Cornebise: I really can't answer. I don't know where the idea came from, I think you know that's applying mathematical principles to mapping, but I can't tell you, I can't pinpoint where that came from. >> Dr. Wahby: If we dig back in the history we found that [unclear dialogue] was there. We found that somebody unknown did it. >> Dr. Cornebise: Well, and here's the thing is that is wasn't just the Greeks, lots of different culture groups have used the grid system in their mapping, so it's not just the Greeks, we find it with the Turks and other groups, and well, it's potentially older, but I guess I can't tell you what the origin is. >> Dr.

Wahby: This map is modern one, or old one? >> Dr. Cornebise: That is just a schemata. Yeah, that's just a schemata. >> Dr. Wahby: The other guy that came later, he went farther to Canary Islands? So they had discovered these at the time? >> Dr. Cornebise: Well, not discovered at the time, those were the like the western extent, let me see if I can find the "quote unquote" known world.

And you are referring I think to Ptolemy, is that right? Ptolemy's map? Yeah, so this was considered the western extent of the known world at the time, and once again, Lee might be able to add something to this. I have heard discussion that it is either the Canary Islands, or Cape Verde, I am not sure if they have settled on what that is, but that's it. >> Dr. Wahby: Now Christopher Columbus is accredited with for sailing on the flat surface, reaching the other side from this side, and he discovered that it is a circle and the rest is history, but when these guys sailed through the Mediterranean, crossing, they didn't see the land from the other side, but they didn't have the fear of falling, or knew that they'd reach Egypt for example? >> Dr. Cornebise: Well, and I think that may just be almost a contextual issue because the Mediterranean Sea isn't that vast, you know, it's not like the ocean as they sailed out past the Iberian Peninsula. There's nothing in sight there. >> Dr.

Wahby: Maybe they did that after they went around, they went and knew this is the islands, and the end of all of it. >> Dr. Cornebise: Right. >> Dr.

Wahby: Well, I think Mike give me the impression that we are living in wanton, so if you are here, and we are here, so [unclear dialogue] >> Dr. Lanham: I was just going to point out that maybe very obvious to people but to when they are putting this meridian out to the west of Europe there and saying it is number one, as if the world is only going to go in one direction, I think that if you think of Illinois towns in which many of our students are coming from, the first street, or main street is no longer at the edge of town, nor is it a center of town, and so if geographers always have this problem of naming anything, because something comes later, and then all of a sudden you are minus one street, minus two streets, in which they don't want to use and thus all the trees, the tree names, and those types of things, and I am looking here of meridian number one being an island that most of the persons in a ancient Greece would not have gone to, and it would have been sort of the edge, even for the sailors at some point to do that, but I am always struck at where to start, and so they just start and someone else has to pick up the next stage. >> Dr. Cornebise: Well, it's sort of like the prime meridian today. Of course, running through England, you know, the world observatory there, that was arbitrary in a sense, so.

>> Dr. Wahby: There's there time for two questions, and I'll take the privilege of asking them. When the guy went to Alexandria and did his experiment with light, they didn't have cell phones to ask about [unclear dialogue} how do they do that? >> Dr. Cornebise: Well, that's a good question. >>Dr. Wahby: Different years, maybe or something? >> Dr.

Cornebise: No, because it was well known that the well, that on the summer solstice, that you could see the sun. That was already known. >> Dr.

Wahby: Summer solstice, [unclear dialogue]next year, they go there and they compare it, something like that? >> Dr. Cornebise: Well, no. He was in Alexandria on the summer solstice, realizing that he knew the fact that S1 that had already been established, so he measured that in Alexandria on June 21.

>> Dr. Wahby: How, where did that idea, that sunlight is parallel I mean should be parallel [unclear dialogue] assumption that? >> Dr. Cornebise: I don't know the origin of that either, but that can be ascribed to the Greeks, Lee do you know? I don't. The rays of light coming down at a parallel >>Dr.Wahby: Seven degrees? >> Dr. Patterson: Actually we have [unclear dialogue] of traditions of that in Egypt. >> Dr. Wahby: Ok, so, we have some relations with Egypt and the governing, any feedback or there must be work [unclear dialogue] >> Dr. Cornebise: Well, I guess you can think of it as a continuation, and it is also a continuation into the Roman Empire as well, yeah, that they did.

>> Dr. Wahby: We have to stop, but I hope you don't stop thinking and searching and I'll see you sometime soon at another session. Please give him a round of applause. >>Dr.

Cornebise: Thanks for coming. [no dialogue].

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