Strabo was a native of Amasya in northwestern Asia Minor, but ventured widely in the Roman empire of the Augustan era, and his Geographia is laced with personal observation and reminiscence, laced with scorn for outlandish travellers’ tales. He borrows heavily from earlier Greek chroniclers including Artemidorus, Polybius and Poseidonius. His detailed accounts of Greece largely consist of a defence of Homer’s geographical accuracy; elsewhere he describes, and speculates on the causes of volcanoes and fossils. Arabia Felix is portrayed through an account of the abortive military expedition of his friend Aelius Gallus. Pylae Caspiae and Pattala in India are conveyed through the conquests of Alexander the Great. In the Illyrian mountains, the pipe-playing Dardanii are described as living in caves below dung-heaps, while his observations upon the Nile are supplemented by his own voyage on the river as far as Kush. Compendia of histories and distances are also included.
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