Hecataeus of Miletus’ Map

Hecataeus of Miletus (c.550-476 BC) improved the map of Anaximander, which he saw as a disc encircled by Oceanus.

Reconstruction of Hecataeus’ Map.

Inspiration for his map may have come from his Ges Periodos (Travels round the Earth or World Survey). Two books each organized in the manner of a periplus, a point-to-point coastal survey. One on Europe, is essentially a periplus of the Mediterranean, describing each region in turn, reaching as far north as Scythia. The other book, on Asia, is arranged similarly to the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea of which a version of the 1st century CE survives. Hecataeus described the countries and inhabitants of the known world, the account of Egypt being particularly comprehensive; the descriptive matter was accompanied by a map, based upon Anaximander’s map of the Earth, which he corrected and enlarged. The work only survives in some 374 fragments, by far the majority being quoted in the geographical lexicon Ethnika compiled by Stephanus of Byzantium.

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