By Katherine Clarke
The Roman empire substantially affected geographical conceptions, evoking new methods of describing the earth and of creating its heritage. This ebook explores the writings of 3 literary figures of the age--Polybius, Posidonius, and Strabo--and how they used and remodeled pre-existing Greek traditions as a way to describe the recent international of Rome.
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Additional info for Between Geography and History: Hellenistic Constructions of the Roman World (Oxford Classical Monographs)
8. 7). An interesting parallel for this professed concentration of the geographer on the present, rather than the past, is seen in Defoe's Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain. In the preface he states that 'the situation of things is given not as they have been, but as they are; . all respects the present time, not the time past/ 36 Like Strabo, Defoe seems to have abandoned this aim almost immediately. He colours his description of eight eenth-century Britain with pieces of historical information dating from the Roman period onwards.
One could argue for an association of this kind of universalism with notions of time and space which are continuous and abstract—the geometrical model. T o use a term from mathematics, the world and all its parts are, in the strictest sense, Similar shapes'. But it is important to note also the very earliest philosophical moves to understand the world as a coherent whole, especially since these offer ways of combining the universal with the fragmentary. Later in this chapter I discuss the influence of Hecataeus of Miletus on the development of Greek prose writing.
Could this be a way of separating geography's treatment of the world from that of historical works? T h e model does not work well, as it requires history to give more active prominence to environment than does geography, which somehow goes against the sense in which geography, as reflected in its very name, should be primarily interested in the natural world. But the question of the viewpoint of geographical and historical accounts usefully brings us back to the issue of focalization and narratology.
Between Geography and History: Hellenistic Constructions of the Roman World (Oxford Classical Monographs) by Katherine Clarke