The Ancient Library

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obscurity to a person who is competently acquainted with Greek, except that obscurity which is sometimes owing to the matter. With the ex­ception of Herodotus, there is no writer of antiquity, and perhaps none of modern times, who has comprehended so many valuable facts in so small a compass.

The best editions are by Siebelis, Leipzig, 1822-28, 5 vols. 8vo.; by Bekker, Berlin, 1826-7, 2 vols. 8vo; by Schubart and Walz, Leipzig, 1838-40, 3 vols. 8vo; and by L. Dindorf, Paris, 1845, 8vo, forming part of Didot's Bibliotheca Grceca.

IV. marinus (Mapwos)1 of Tyre, a Greek geographer, lived in the mid­dle of the second century of the Christian era, and was the immediate predecessor of Ptolemy, who frequently refers to him. Marinus was un­doubtedly the founder of mathematical geography in antiquity; and we learn from Ptolemy's own statement (i., 6) that he based his whole work upon that of Marinus. The chief merit of Marinus was that he put an end to the uncertainty that had hitherto prevailed respecting the positions of places by assigning to each its latitude and longitude. He also con­structed maps for his works on much improved principles. In order to obtain as much accuracy as possible, Marinus was indefatigable in study­ing the works of his predecessors, the diaries kept by travellers, and ev­ery available source. He made many alterations in the second edition of his work, and would have still farther improved it if he had not been carried off by an untimely death.

V. PTOLEM^Eiis.2 We have already spoken of the mathematical and astronomical works of this writer. It now remains to make mention of him as a geographer. Ptolemy's great geographical \vork, entitled Tew-ypa<j>tKi) tff<fd)yT]<ns, is in eight books, and has reached us entire. This work was the last attempt made by the ancients to form a complete geo­graphical system; it was accepted as the text-book of the science, and it maintained that position during the Middle Ages, and until the fifteenth century, when the rapid progress of maritime discovery caused it to be superseded. It contains, however, very little information respecting the objects of interest connected with the different countries and places; for, with the exception of the introductory matter in the first book, and the latter part of the work, it is a mere catalogue of the names of places, with their longitudes and latitudes, and with a few incidental references to objects of interest. The latitudes of Ptolemy are tolerably correct, but his longitudes are very wide of the truth, his length of the known world, from east to west, being much too great. It is well worthy, however, of remark, in passing, that the modern world owes much to this error; for it tended to encourage the belief in the practicability of a western pas­sage to the Indies, which occasioned the discovery of America by Co­lumbus.

The first book of Ptolemy's work is introductory. The next six and a half books (ii.-vii., 4) are occupied with the description of the known world, beginning with the West of Europe, the description of which is contained in book second. Next comes the East of Europe, in book third; then Africa, in book fourth; then Western or Lesser Asia, in book fifth; * Smith, Diet. Biogr., s. v, * Id. ib.

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