New Directions in the Study of Ancient Geography
Edited by Duane W. Roller
Publication date:28 July 2020
Length of book:208 pages
PublisherAssociation of Ancient Historians
This volume brings together five essays that represent the latest directions in the study of geography in classical antiquity. Arranged chronologically, these contributions cover several centuries and cultures, ranging from ancient Mesopotamia to the Roman Empire and deal with topics such as ancient cosmology, literary interpretations of geography, ancient navigation, and geography in the Roman Imperial world.
Beginning in the ancient Near East, Paul T. Keyser’s essay considers how Greek scholars—whose views on the cosmos are still relevant today—were influenced by early Near Eastern beliefs about the universe. Moving to the Hellenistic period, Duane W. Roller presents and provides commentary on a navigational guide for Ptolemaic seamen written by Ptolemy II’s chief of naval staff, Timosthenes of Rhodes. Georgia L. Irby provides an analysis of a literary map—the Shield of Aeneas from Vergil’s Aeneid—as well as a detailed study of Pomponius Mela and his Chorographia, the earliest surviving Greco-Roman geographical treatise and the only extant independent geographical work in Latin. An essay by Molly Ayn Jones-Lewis completes the volume by describing how Tacitus’s Germania, of the early second century AD, is a work heavily reliant on environmental determinism, an issue that is still relevant today.
Together, these essays demonstrate the great diversity of both ancient geographical writing and modern scholarship on ancient geography. This volume will be greeted with enthusiasm by ancient historians and classical studies scholars, particularly those interested in the cultural and political facets of geography.